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What is a Good Settlement Offer for a Car Accident in Pennsylvania?

Posted in Car Accidents on Wednesday, December 20, 2023.

A personal injury lawsuit is an effective way to collect restitution after someone has injured you in a negligent car accident. While going to trial may provide the best results for some, there are advantages to the guaranteed outcome of settling out of court for others.

It can be challenging to know what is a good settlement offer for a car accident in Pennsylvania. An experienced attorney can help you calculate the compensation you qualify for and advocate for what you deserve during a settlement negotiation.

Qualifying Damages in an Injury Lawsuit

Each state sets specific criteria for which costs a plaintiff can recover in a personal injury lawsuit. The most common forms of compensation are economic damages, also known as actual damages, which cover measurable costs directly related to the injury, such as medical bills and lost wages. Noneconomic damages are those covering related but more subjective costs, such as pain and suffering.

Pennsylvania does not typically place a cap on econaomic or noneconomic damages for car accident lawsuits, so a person can usually seek to recover as much money as necessary to recoup their losses following the collision.

An attorney could help calculate the applicable costs and collect the necessary evidence to prove those values for a good settlement offer.

Limitations on Damages in a Car Accident Lawsuit

Some circumstances can limit or prevent a plaintiff’s ability to collect financial compensation after a car accident.

Government Employees

Under 42 Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes § 8528, a single plaintiff cannot recover more than $250,000 from certain government employees. In a case where there are multiple plaintiffs suing for the same event, the cap is $1,000,000 total, regardless of the amount each plaintiff may be entitled to otherwise.

42 Pa. Con. Stat. § 8501 specifies that a government employee or agency is generally subject to this cap as long as they were acting within the scope of their position at the time the injury occurred. A government agent attending to personal matters outside of their job may be eligible to invoke this cap.

Comparative Negligence

Pennsylvania follows the doctrine of comparative negligence under 42 Pa. Con. Stat. § 7102(a). This rule can prevent a plaintiff from collecting all, or any, of their compensation when a court finds them to have negligently contributed to their injuries. The jury will decide how “at fault” the plaintiff and the defendant are. When a plaintiff is not more than 50 percent at fault, they can still recover damages, but the amount will be reduced by the same fault percentage the jury assigned to them.

However, when the jury finds the plaintiff’s actions were a greater cause of the car accident than the defendant’s actions were, the plaintiff will be barred from recovering any money at all.

If a person is worried that comparative negligence may impact their success at trial, a good settlement offer can be a more effective way to collect damages.

Talk to a Car Accident Attorney

So, what is a good settlement offer for a car accident in Pennsylvania? That will depend on the specific circumstances that led to your collision, the culpability of each person involved, and the costs you incur for medical treatment and other related damages. The best way to know you are getting a fair offer is to consult a local attorney. Our lawyers can determine what you could potentially win if you go to trial and how likely it is that you will be successful so you can take a settlement offer with confidence.