Negligence is a leading cause of motor vehicle accidents. Whether a head-on collision, side-impact, a rear-end collision, or a car colliding with a pedestrian or cyclist, someone or something is likely at fault. However, the path towards proving the negligent party’s liability is not always a clear one; understanding the implications of negligence is the first step.
Definition of Negligence
As a legal term, negligence is when someone acts carelessly or recklessly, and this behavior affects another person in an adverse way. The victim can become injured or harmed as a result. The negligence could be intentional or unintentional. If a driver was distracted behind the wheel, ran a red light and crashed into another car, it may not have been done on purpose. When a driver cuts off another one and causes a collision, this can be seen as intentional.
Negligent driving can apply to not doing certain things like slowing down for highway construction workers. It also may relate to doing something wrong like not stopping at a stop sign.
Establishing fault in cases that involve intoxicated drivers and overtly reckless driving behaviors (excessive speeding, etc.) can be simpler than proving general negligence. Some collisions can be caused by more than one party.
All drivers have a duty to be reasonably careful at all times. To prove liability, a plaintiff must show that the accused driver was not driving safely. It must then be shown that the unsafe behavior directly caused the plaintiff’s injuries and vehicle damage. This can include pain and suffering, property loss or damage, lost earning capacity, and lost wages.
Proof requires evidence, so the defendant will need to keep track of estimates and payments for vehicle repairs, and records and payments for medical costs. Contacting any individuals that may have witnessed the accident can also be of great benefit.
Pennsylvania Car Accident Laws
Many states, including Pennsylvania, have no-fault systems that apply to car accidents. This means that no matter who was negligent, the injured party’s auto insurance company will pay for their medical costs and lost wages. Furthermore, the negligent driver cannot be held liable unless the accident injury is considered by the state as a “serious injury.” This could include major fractures, temporary and permanent disabilities, and disfigurements. However, Pennsylvania does not impose strict restrictions on the amount of damages a plaintiff can receive in cases of catastrophic injury or death.
Pennsylvania also has shared fault rules, which come into play if both drivers are partially liable for an accident. These laws can impact the compensation received; if one driver is found to be 50 percent or more liable, they cannot collect from the other driver.
There are also statutory time limits for filing lawsuits in Pennsylvania. Individuals have two years to file a personal injury claim after the date of the occurrence. Those who fail to file within the required time may not be able to have their case heard in Pennsylvania civil court.
Philadelphia Injury Lawyers at Freedman & Lorry, P.C. Fight to Prove Negligence in Car Accident Cases
If you were involved in a car accident and need assistance with a personal injury case, do not hesitate to contact a Philadelphia injury lawyer at Freedman & Lorry, P.C. Call 888-999-1962 or complete an online contact form for a free case evaluation. Our offices are in Philadelphia, Cherry Hill, New Jersey, and Pinehurst, North Carolina, allowing us to represent clients throughout the surrounding areas.