Under the law, the at-fault driver in the accident pays for the property damage done to city lights, stop signs and other property. Even if the at-fault driver was the secondary cause of the car accident damage, he or she is still responsible because he or she was the primary cause in the accident. For example, if Car A hits Car B, and Car B then knocks over a stop sign, Car A is responsible for the stop sign.
Stoplights, stop signs and other roadside instruments may be either state or municipal property. After the accident, the responding officer may tag the property with a note containing the accident report number in order to track the property damage and who was at fault. Later on, the administrative office responsible for the property will look up the accident report and send the bill to the at-fault driver or insurance company.
Every driver in Pennsylvania is required to have $5,000 in property damage liability car insurance. City signs and stoplights can costs thousands of dollars, and the government agency may even add on administrative fees and other expenses to the bill, ultimately increasing the cost of the property damage. It’s possible that the damage for the sign and other property will exceed the liability coverage limits.
How to Prove Fault in a Car Accident
After any accident, gather evidence. This evidence can include witness statements, personal statements, photos and accident reports. In an insurance claim or lawsuit, the evidence can prove that one driver was at fault in the accident.
If the city or government agency sends you or your insurance company a bill, you can use this evidence to dispute the charges. Even though you have liability insurance, it’s possible that your rates will go up if your insurer has to pay for the damage. Additionally, the concept of comparative fault governs these claims to a great extent. You may be partially liable for the accident but with the evidence can dispute these claims as well.
What can I do to help if I get into a dispute with the insurance company?
Disputes are common with insurance companies regarding car accident damages, including disputes involving property damage or negligence. If the insurer is asserting you were at fault in the accident when you weren’t, you may benefit from hiring an attorney. Attorneys also know how to thoroughly investigate an accident to be able to present a strong argument that the other driver was at fault.
Further, these cases are complicated when the government is involved, even if you’re not actually suing a government agency. Talk to your attorney about how third-party property damage claims such as those from the government may apply to your case, and who is responsible for paying the bill.
Cordisco & Saile LLC can help with your property damage or other car accident insurance settlement dispute, whether it involves car accident damage or government property damage. Contact our office at 215-642-2335 or fill out our contact form to schedule a free consultation.