How is a Pennsylvania Car Accident Settlement Calculated?
There are a number of factors that can impact the ultimate car accident settlement number, and every case is different, which means there’s also not one answer–or even an average answer–that would give you a sense of what your particular case settlement may be.
The type, severity, and permanence of the injuries resulting from the car accident as well as whether there were any fatalities and the relative fault of both parties will all be material to the settlement. The only way to know exactly how much you should seek for your settlement is to consult with an experienced Pennsylvania Personal Injury attorney, who can ensure that all past, present, and anticipated future expenses are accounted for, and all avenues of compensation are pursued. However, below is a brief overview of the kinds of factors that will be considered in determining your settlement, which will help give you an idea of what relief may be available to you.
Factors to Consider:
- Type of Insurance. Pennsylvania is a no-fault insurance state, meaning that regardless of who is at fault for the accident, the driver’s insurance will pay. However, in some cases, you can waive or opt out of this no-fault model–for instance, in the case of serious injuries when the policy limits will not extend to cover the damage. In these cases, whether the driver has a limited tort or full tort policy will impact the amount that can be sought through settlement. With a limited tort policy, you can only pursue economic expenses, which does not include pain and suffering, whereas a full tort policy permits you to pursue both economic and non-economic damages.
- Pennsylvania follows a comparative negligence rule, meaning that each driver’s fault is considered in determining the settlement. The other driver must be more than 50% at fault for the accident in order for you to recover anything. If you are equally at fault for the accident, neither driver can recover. If you are less than 50% at fault, the total amount of your award will be reduced by your percentage of comparative fault. For instance, if you are awarded $100,000 and are found to be 10% at fault, you will recover $90,000 ($100,000-10%).
- Medical expenses (past, present, and anticipated cost of future care), lost wages and lost or diminished earning potential, loss of companionship or consortium, damage to the vehicle or cost of replacement, and the cost of modifying a vehicle and/or home to accommodate injuries resulting from the car accident, are some of the primary expenses considered in calculating total settlement, as they can be pursued under either type of insurance. It’s critical to keep meticulous records of your bills and expenses as you incur them so that you’re able to recover all that you’re owed later on. In the whirlwind following a car accident it’s easy to get caught up in paying expenses as they come, but it’s easy to lose track of receipts for prescriptions, co-pays, and smaller expenses.
If you’ve been seriously injured as a result of a car accident, schedule a free initial consultation with the personal injury attorneys at the O’Donnell Law Offices serving clients in Kingston, Wilkes Barre, Hazleton and Pittston at 570-821-5717 or online today. There is no fee or costs until we win your case.