Negligence is a legal theory upon which most personal injury claims are founded. It is the basis for the majority of civil lawsuits. Laws pertaining to negligence are set at the state level. The basic theory remains true, however, throughout. Negligence is when someone else owes you a legal duty to act with a certain level of care, that duty is breached, and you suffer harm as a result. The negligence analysis can become increasingly more complicated in a number of different ways. For instance, what happens if more than one party is found to be negligent in causing an accident? Usually, the person at fault is responsible for compensating the injured party. What if more than one party is at fault and more than one party is injured? This can vary from state to state.
Is Pennsylvania a Comparative Negligence State?
Different states will handle situations in which more than one person is found to be at fault in causing an accident. For instance, in pure contributory negligence states, if a party is even just one percent at fault for causing an accident, then he or she is barred from filing a lawsuit to recover damages. This is far and away from the minority rule that is now applied. In fact, only five states still follow pure contributory negligence.
Alternatively, there is pure comparative negligence. In a pure comparative negligence state, a party found to be partially at fault for causing an accident can still recover compensation for the injuries sustained in an accident. In fact, a person can be 99% responsible for causing an accident and still recover damages. The damage award will, however, be reduced by the person’s percentage of fault. This means that, if the person really was found to be 99% at fault for an accident, he or she would only receive 1% of his or her damages award.
Pennsylvania, however, is neither a pure contributory negligence state nor is it a pure comparative negligence state. Pennsylvania is, in fact, a modified comparative negligence state. In a modified comparative negligence state, a claimant still has the right to pursue a damage award as long as he or she was not found to be more at fault than the other parties. Pennsylvania follows a 51% rule. This means that, in Pennsylvania, you can recover damages as long as you were less than 51% at fault. You can be no more than 50% at fault for causing an accident. It is important to note, however, that under a pure contributory negligence standard, Your damages award will, however, still be reduced by your percentage of fault.
Philadelphia Personal Injury Attorneys
While these kinds of state-specific negligence laws can be complicated, they also have a significant impact on your ability and right to collect full and fair compensation for the damages you sustain in an accident. As you can see, Pennsylvania’s modified comparative negligence law makes it even more important for you to have a trusted advocate by your side to fight for your ability to recover compensation. Establishing fault is a complex and important part of the personal injury claims process and the trusted personal injury attorneys at Cooper Schall & Levy are here to help. Contact us today.