Understanding Comparative Negligence in Hit and Run Cases

A hit-and-run accident is frustrating and scary, but it doesn’t negate your need to get compensation if you’ve been injured as a result. You’ll want to find the driver so that your insurance companies can determine who’s at what percent of fault due to a model called comparative negligence.

What Is Comparative Negligence?

Comparative negligence is assigning the percentage of fault in an accident. It says that both parties can be at fault for the same incident and that one may be more or less at fault than the other. It acknowledges that even the person most at fault may still need to collect damages as compensation for that percentage for which they were not at fault.

What Is Modified Comparative Negligence?

Several states, including Pennsylvania, follow a modified comparative negligence model. These models typically limit how at fault someone can be before they can no longer seek compensation for the losses resulting from the accident. Generally, this is around 50 percent to 51 percent, meaning that if someone hits another car and is found to be 52 percent at fault, they can’t seek compensation for their own car’s damage or their own injuries.

In hit-and-run accidents, where someone flees, it may seem almost impossible to try to get compensation if you don’t know who hit you. But remember, many places now have multiple security cameras outdoors, doorbell cameras, and traffic cameras. Chances are, there’s footage of the accident that can show you who hit you and who’s really at fault.

Insurance Companies Don’t Always Pay

Pennsylvania follows the modified comparative negligence model, so if you’re deemed more than 51 percent at fault, you can’t collect damages. But if you’re deemed less than 51 percent at fault, you should soon receive payments from insurance companies, right? That doesn’t always happen. Your insurance company might say you’re eligible to collect. Still, if the other driver’s insurance company refuses to assign more than 51 percent of the blame to their driver, they may refuse to pay out anything. Your action plan after that needs to take a legal route to ensure the insurance company admits their driver’s fault and pays you for your losses.

And sometimes, the other driver’s insurance company pays out, but only a percentage. For example, if the other driver is assigned 75 percent of the blame, that driver’s insurance agency may refuse to pay more than 75 percent of your bills.

Why You Shouldn’t Give Up

It is frustrating to get that notification from the other driver’s insurance agency that they either won’t pay out or that they’ll pay out only a percentage of your claim. But it’s not the end of the story, no matter what. If you’ve been injured in an accident and are deemed less than 51 percent at fault, you’ll need to collect damages to pay your expenses. Even a partial payment isn’t going to be enough in many cases.

And in those hit-and-run cases where you can’t find the other driver, and your own insurance company is giving you grief because they think you’re at more than 51 percent fault when you know you weren’t, you need help from a lawyer.

That’s where hiring personal injury lawyers with good track records comes in. A hit-and-run is bad enough but made even worse when insurance companies won’t help. You need to have good legal representation on your side to untangle the web of finances, bills, and faults. 
If you want to talk to a car accident lawyer serving Philadelphia and the surrounding region, or you need a bus accident attorney in Delaware County, PA, Katz Injury Law is the office you need to call. Never deal with insurance companies on your own after an injury accident; always call for legal representation.

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