Imagine you are pulling up to a four-way intersection with west-to-east stop signs. The north-to-south roads do not have stop signs, so you make sure to stop and look both ways before proceeding. Suddenly, you hear the loud screech of squealing tires. In a split second, you look into your rearview mirror and see a car barreling towards the back of your car. The powerful impact of the car slamming into your car pushes you into the intersection. At the same time, a car that had come to a “rolling” stop across from you has also entered the intersection.
Fortunately, everybody involved in this three-way crash suffers only cuts and bruises, including yourself. While it is obvious the driver who rear-ended you is at fault, does the person who did not fully stop have some responsibility for contributing to personal injuries and property damage?
Understanding Pennsylvania’s Comparative Fault Law
Pennsylvania is one of several states with a comparative fault law. This statute permits apportioning a percentage of fault to drivers involved in a multiple car accident. When applicable, comparative fault law means compensation for damages could be reduced for drivers who are found partly at fault for an accident.
Drivers who are at least 50 percent responsible for car accidents in PA cannot be awarded compensation by other at-fault drivers. In other words, if the driver who rear-ended you is found to be 75 percent at fault and the “rolling stop” driver is found to be 25 percent at fault, neither driver is eligible to receive compensation from you or each other.
How Is Fault Determined in Three-Car Accidents?
Police reports, witness statements, accident reconstruction specialists, doctors, and insurance companies are all involved in determining fault. When an accident victim disagrees with how fault is apportioned in a three-car crash, they should hire a personal injury lawyer to fight for the compensation they deserve.
Pennsylvania residents have two years from the day of the accident to file a lawsuit if they disagree with compensation offers from the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Allowing this statute of limitations to expire means you can no longer file a lawsuit.
If you or someone you know has suffered physical injuries due to involvement in a three car accident, contact us today to schedule an immediate consultation appointment.