How Long Does an At Fault Accident Stay on Your Record in Pennsylvania?

As a personal injury lawyer in Philadelphia, I have seen the impact that car accidents can have on individuals and their insurance rates. It's a common concern for many drivers to wonder how long an accident will stay on their record and affect their insurance rates. The answer is not a simple one, as it depends on various factors such as the severity of the accident, state regulations, and the insurance company's policies. In most cases, a car accident will remain on your record for three to five years or more. This means that it will continue to affect your insurance rates during this time.

However, there are steps you can take to lower your rates after an accident, although it may take some time. One option that some auto insurance companies offer is an accident forgiveness program. This coverage option means that your policy won't receive a surcharge after your first at-fault accident. To be eligible for this program, you must have a clean driving record with no tickets or accidents for the past three to five years. Keep in mind that enrolling in an accident forgiveness program may result in an additional premium. The length of time that an accident affects your insurance rates also varies by state and insurance company.

Some states have limitations on how long insurers can consider at-fault accidents when calculating premiums. For example, in Massachusetts, at-fault accidents can only affect premiums for six years. It's essential to understand the difference between how long an accident stays on your driving record and how long it affects your car insurance rates. An accident can remain on your record for years, but once it disappears from your DMV record, it usually won't affect your rates anymore. The table below shows the average increase in car insurance rates for drivers with an at-fault accident on their record compared to those with a clean driving record:

StatePercentage Increase
New York29%
If you've been involved in a car accident, it's crucial to seek legal advice from a Philadelphia personal injury lawyer. They can help you navigate the complex process of filing an insurance claim and ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve. It's understandable that receiving higher insurance rates after an accident can be frustrating and stressful.

However, it's essential to remember that not all insurance companies treat accidents the same way. Some may offer lower rates for certain types of accidents or even have an optional accident forgiveness benefit. Once your car is repaired, and your insurance claim is resolved, you may want to forget that the accident ever happened. However, it's crucial to keep track of how long it will continue to affect your insurance rates. If you notice a significant increase in your rates after an accident that you didn't cause, consider looking for a company that only charges surcharges for fault-based accidents.

Benjamín Bélanger
Benjamín Bélanger

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