When a car accident first occurs, the parties might think that fault for the car accident is straightforward. The police may even add to this assumption by issuing a traffic ticket to one of the drivers. However, fault for a car accident isn’t always immediately clear. Here’s why you may want to speak to a Pennsylvania personal injury attorney before you settle your case.
The police officer doesn’t decide legal fault
Police officers investigate car accidents. They might even give you a traffic ticket during their investigation. However, it’s actually not the police officer who makes the final determination of legal fault for a car accident.
Legal fault for a car accident is based on negligence or a lack of sufficient care. You can be negligent in a car accident without breaking a traffic law. Similarly, you may not have legal fault even if you break a traffic law. Some kinds of negligence may not be immediately obvious.
Driving too slowly may be legal negligence
For example, driving too slowly may be an example of legal negligence. Even though driving slowly may not be explicitly written into traffic law, all drivers have a duty to operate at reasonable speeds on the road. By driving too slowly, a driver may create a hazard and impede traffic in a dangerous way.
When car accidents occur because of a slow driver, the driver may be responsible for negligence. It’s also possible for both drivers to have some level of blame. When drivers share the blame, determining your rights to compensation can be particularly complex. You may have the right to claim compensation. Even if you are partially to blame for an accident, comparative negligence may give you a right to partial compensation.
How a car accident lawyer might help
Before you settle with the insurance company or otherwise resolve your car accident case, it’s important to understand your legal rights. Even if someone else says that you’re at fault for the accident, you may be surprised at where the legal fault actually lies. To receive financial compensation that you deserve, you may take legal action. An experienced personal injury attorney may be able to evaluate the facts of your case and help you understand your rights.