Potential Liable Parties When Car Accidents Occur

Pennsylvania is a no-fault state in regard to car accidents. In Pennsylvania, you will usually seek compensation for your medical bills and other such losses after a car accident by filing a claim to collect from your own insurance, even if your accident was the result of someone else’s carelessness.

That said, if your injuries are serious enough, you can also file a claim or lawsuit to collect from the insurance of the negligent party who caused your accident. You must correctly determine who that party is to show that you deserve to be compensated. The liable party or parties could be:

Another Motorist

When auto accidents are the result of someone’s negligence, often, the negligent party is another motorist. Careless drivers can cause accidents if they are:

  • Speeding
  • Intoxicated
  • Distracted
  • Drowsy
  • Driving aggressively
  • Not signaling turns
  • Not yielding the right of way

Those are just a few examples. Although another driver is usually the negligent party whose insurance is responsible for compensating victims when accidents occur, there are exceptions. The following are other parties that may negligently cause motor vehicle accidents.

Vehicle Manufacturers or Designers

Consider the following scenario. You stop at a crosswalk to allow a pedestrian to cross the street. Moments later, a vehicle that had been far enough away from you to stop on time rear-ends you. In this case, it’s clear that the negligent party is the driver of said vehicle, right?

Maybe the driver of the vehicle that struck you was legitimately attempting to stop. They might have been unable to do so because their brakes were defective.

If they knew about the brake problem and failed to take steps to address it, they could be considered negligent in these circumstances. However, if they were not aware of this defect, then the vehicle’s designers or manufacturers may have been negligent. They were the ones who overlooked a defect and therefore allowed an unsafe vehicle to be on the road.

Government Agencies

Various government agencies often have the responsibility of monitoring roads for hazards and addressing them when they are identified. If a hazard can’t be eliminated right away, government agencies at least have a duty to properly inform drivers of the said hazard.

Accidents may happen when they fail to do so. For example, perhaps a Stop sign is knocked down. Although a government agency’s employees aren’t superhuman, and thus can’t always be aware of the situation the moment a traffic sign is knocked down, if several days have elapsed from the time the sign was knocked over, a government agency should have replaced it. If the agency failed to do so and an accident occurred, as a result, said the agency might be considered liable.


Cases in which passengers of other vehicles are considered liable may be rare, but they do occur.

Perhaps you’re involved in an accident because a driver in another lane swerves into yours and strikes you head-on. This is another case in which it would seem obvious that the other driver’s negligence caused your accident. However, perhaps they swerved into your lane because a careless and rowdy passenger in their car grabbed the wheel as a “joke.”

These examples are meant to illustrate the way in which car accident cases may be more nuanced than they immediately seem. If you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident and your injuries are serious enough to justify filing a third-party claim or lawsuit, our Philadelphia car accident attorneys will investigate the circumstances thoroughly to ensure the liable parties are properly identified. Get started today by contacting us online or calling us at 215-987-3730.