A common question to ask after an automobile accident is whether a client is able to receive compensation when the client is partially at fault for the accident that has occurred. The overwhelming answer in Pennsylvania is yes, a driver is eligible to receive compensation, despite being partly to blame for the accident.
Section 7102(a) of the Judicial Code provides that when a plaintiff brings a lawsuit to recover damages for negligence that resulted in death or injury to that person or property, that plaintiff may have had a degree of fault in regards to the accident. In other words, how much the injured plaintiff contributed to the accident happening. The injured plaintiff must not have a greater amount of negligence regarding the accident than the defendant who the plaintiff seeks recovery from. However, any amount of damage that the plaintiff caused will lead to a reduction in how much compensation the plaintiff is eligible to receive.
One example of this situation is if a plaintiff made an illegal left turn across a main street and while in the process of the turn, the defendant driver was traveling over the speed limit down the road while texting and drinking while driving. The defendant then smashes into the plaintiff causing about $40,000 worth of damages. These damages usually accrue from destruction of property, like the car, and personal injuries, for example if the injured plaintiff broke her leg as a result of the crash. The plaintiff definitely had some degree of fault for the accident because she made an illegal left turn, however, the plaintiff’s negligence was not greater than the amount of fault that the defendant’s contributory negligence. An illegal left turn is minimal compared to a negligent and irresponsible driver who was dangerously speeding while taking his attention away from the road by texting and drinking. The defendant might be found to be responsible for 75% of the accident, despite the illegal left turn by the injured plaintiff. In this hypothetical, it would make the plaintiff responsible for 25% of the accident because of the illegal left turn made. Therefore, if the settlement amount is for $40,000, the injured plaintiff would be entitled to 75% of the compensation available: $30,000.
Regardless of if you are partly at fault for an automobile accident, you are eligible to be compensated for the injuries that you have sustained if another negligent driver was more at fault for the accident than you are. Accident injuries are often serious and long lasting, requiring an extended amount of physical therapy to return you to your prior level of health.
Based in West Chester, Pennsylvania, Ciccarelli Law Offices will fight by your side to make sure the at-fault driver is paying for as much of your medical bills as possible. Our offices are located throughout southeastern Pennsylvania from Philadelphia County to Lancaster County. Call any of our knowledgeable attorneys for more information or any questions you may have at 610-692-8700 or toll free at 877-529-2422.