Pennsylvania is not one of the states with the highest rates of accidents in the country, but it can be at certain times of the year. Pennsylvania winters are very tough and the state comes in second when it comes to accidents during the winter months.
You should be on your guard when driving in the state no matter what season it is, however. You should also know that Pennsylvania has some unique laws when it comes to car accidents and you will need to know what these are if you have been, or ever get involved, in an accident there. Here are some of the things that you should know about car accidents in Pennsylvania.
You May Not Be Able to Sue
Since Pennsylvania is a no-fault state for car accidents, there is a strong chance that you will have to seek a claim from your own insurer if you’re ever caught in an accident. The only exception is if there’s a major injury. It’s also the case if you’re somewhere that’s sitting on 2 jurisdictions, like Lehigh Valley, for instance. That’s because neighboring New Jersey is a no-fault state as well.
Know, however, that you should still contact a lawyer to know if you may have grounds to sue as you may not know what a major injury is. Injuries can look minor today but deteriorate over time. An experienced lawyer will be able to look at your case instantly and guide you through the proper course of action, or help you if your insurer refuses to pay for damages.
You Can Choose At-Fault or No-Fault Insurance
You should also know that Pennsylvania is one of the few states where you can opt-out of the no-fault system. You could decide to opt for a full tort policy that would allow you to pursue the other driver if it’s demonstrated that they were at fault.
These are a bit more expensive than limited tort insurance policies, however. Your compensation could also be calculated based on your level of fault, and if it’s demonstrated that you are more than 51% responsible for the accident, you won’t be able to seek damages from the other party.
Hit and Run Rules
Pennsylvania also has some strict rules and penalties for hit and runs. If you’re involved in an accident that results in property damage or injury, you are required by law to stop your vehicle at the scene (or as close as possible) and exchange information with the other party. If the car was unoccupied, you should leave a note with your information. It should include your phone number, address, driver’s license, and registration number. You are also responsible for assisting any injured party.
In addition, you also have to report the incident to the police if it’s not investigated at the scene. This has to be done within 5 days of the incident.
If you’ve been involved in an accident in Pennsylvania or are thinking of driving there, you need to keep these facts in mind. Have the number of a good lawyer in your back pocket just in case you get in a sticky situation.