Passengers Can Sue for Serious Injuries in Car Accidents
More than 104,000 traffic crashes in Pennsylvania were reported in 2020. More than 1,100 people lost their lives and 61,248 were injured. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, about almost 20% of the fatalities were passengers and many more passengers were injured.
The injured and a loved one of the deceased can sue those responsible for a car accident caused by negligence.
Minor Accidents Are Covered by Insurance
Pennsylvania is a no-fault insurance state for car accidents. No party can sue for damages related to minor injuries. In these cases, the injured person’s own insurance provides coverage for medical expenses and lost wages or income. For injured passengers, the no-fault coverage of the driver will cover the costs.
A passenger can sue the at-fault driver if their injuries are serious. What is considered serious is up to the interpretation of the court and determined on a case-by-case basis. The personal injury lawyers at Scaringi Law have a strong record of thoroughly explaining why our clients’ injuries should be considered serious and thereby have the standing to file a lawsuit.
Modified Comparative Negligence
Many times, car accidents are caused by a combination of factors. One driver is not always at fault. When a driver is seeking compensation for their serious injuries, they must be no more than 50% responsible to recover damages. Their degree of fault is factored into any potential monetary award. If they are 40% responsible, their compensation will be reduced by 40%.
Injured passengers can sue both drivers, and the court will determine each driver’s degree of fault. If one driver is found to be 70% at fault, that driver is responsible for 80% of the damages. The second driver is liable for the other 20%. Most personal injury lawsuits are settled outside of court, including lawsuits filed by passengers.
A Strong Personal Injury Case
Anyone hurt in a motor vehicle accident should seek medical attention, even if the injuries seem insignificant. Some injuries are not immediately apparent. This documentation can help should a lawsuit be necessary.
Other actions that can lay the foundation for a robust personal injury case include the following:
- Gather the contact information and insurance information of all involved parties.
- Get the phone numbers and emails of witnesses. Ask them for a written statement.
- Take photographs and videos of the scene from multiple angles.
- Before memory fades, write down any details like the weather, time of day, and road conditions.
- Obtain a copy of the accident report.
A successful personal injury case can provide support beyond paying for medical bills and lost wages. Non-economic damages can also be awarded to help mitigate intangible losses like physical pain and suffering, mental anguish, and loss of consortium.
Deadline to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit
According to the Pennsylvania statute of limitations, a plaintiff has two years from the date of the injury to file a lawsuit. This timeline is firm and extended in only specific situations. The civil court system will likely refuse to hear your case if you bring it after two years have passed.
Understand Your Compensation Rights
When you are injured in an accident that was not your fault, you may have grounds to file a personal injury lawsuit. Our legal team at Scaringi Law doggedly pursues rightful compensation for our clients. We aggressively negotiate with insurance companies and stand ready to take the case to trial.
If you have been injured as a passenger in a vehicle, talk to us about your case. Schedule your no-cost case consultation at Scaringi Law by calling (717) 775-7195 or reaching us online.