Can I Sue If I Was Partly At Fault During a Car Accident?

Sometimes, responsibility for a car accident in Pennsylvania is clear-cut. One person was obviously at fault, and the other person wasn’t. In other accidents, however, it is not so easy to discern who really caused the accident, especially if both drivers made a few mistakes.

So can you pursue a personal injury lawsuit if you were partly at fault for the crash? The answer is “maybe.”

Here at the law firm of Berger and Green in Pittsburgh, we can thoroughly analyze the details of your case and advise you about your rights. With more than 40 years of experience, our attorneys have developed strong working relationships with auto accident investigators. We have the skill and resources you need to clearly determine who is responsible and how to obtain the financial compensation you need. Call us at (412) 661-1400.

Pennsylvania Is Different From Many Other States

In many states, a person cannot recover compensation if he or she was at all responsible for the accident. Contributing even 1 percent to a collision automatically disqualifies a person from filing a personal injury lawsuit.

In Pennsylvania, the rules are different. The commonwealth adheres to “comparative fault negligence.” Practically, this means that if you were 50 percent or less responsible for the car accident, you can seek compensation. For instance, if it turns out that you were 25 percent responsible for the crash and John Doe was 75 percent responsible, you can seek 75 percent of the compensation for your injuries and losses.

Seeking Money From The Party That Can Actually Pay

If multiple parties were at fault, you might benefit from what is called “joint and several liability.” Essentially, if one party can’t pay his or her share of the damages, you can seek that share from the party that can pay.

Here’s an example: You are 20 percent at fault, John Doe is 20 percent at fault and Jane Doe is 60 percent at fault. However, John Doe has no insurance coverage and no assets, so you can’t recover 20 percent from him. In this case, you may be able to seek the full amount you deserve (80 percent) from Jane Doe instead. However, this rule applies only when another party is not less than 60% at fault or when certain statutory conditions apply.

Learn More In A Free Consultation

To discover whether pursuing financial compensation is possible in your particular case, we invite you to schedule a free case evaluation with one of our lawyers. Simply call the Pittsburgh office of Berger and Green today at (412) 661-1400 or contact us by email. Our attorneys collect a fee only if they are successful for you.