Personal Injury Attorney Discusses Negligence in PA, a Comparative Negligence Law State
To a personal injury lawyer in Philadelphia, PA, negligence is a key issue. Negligence is at the heart of any personal injury claim. For the claimant to receive a judgement, they must demonstrate that their injuries were due to the negligence of another.
Sometimes, this is clear cut. When a car swerves out of its lane onto the sidewalk and hits a pedestrian, the car’s driver was clearly negligent. However, very often, blame is not quite so easy to assign or there may be reasons to believe both parties contributed to the incident. In such cases, culpability is decided according to state definitions of negligence, as well as the judge or jury’s evaluation of the events.
Here are the basics you should know when considering consultation with a personal injury lawyer in Philadelphia, PA, about an injury.
Understanding the Basics of Negligence in Pennsylvania Law
The most important thing to know about negligence in Pennsylvania is that we are a comparative negligence state. This means that the claimant (the injured party bringing suit) can still receive compensation even if the judge finds that they contributed to the incident in question. However, to win their suit, the extent of their own contributing negligence must be lower than that of the other party.
In other words, they must be less at fault than the other party.
Here is a hypothetical example:
One driver is driving drunk, weaves into the oncoming lane of traffic, and causes a collision with another driver. However, the driver in the other lane who was hit was distracted by their cell phone, delaying their attempt to avoid the accident. In this scenario, the judge or jury would most likely agree that the drunk driver was primarily negligent – perhaps 75% at fault – but that the other driver’s distraction was guilty of contributory negligence.
These percentages are important because they affect compensation. The more at fault the claimant is, the less money they can receive. Usually, the compensation is directly based on this assignment of fault. That is, if our driver was 25% at fault for the accident, then they would receive 25% less than the maximum they could receive had they been entirely blameless.
In a personal injury case in Pennsylvania, the focus will be on deciding on which party was primarily negligent and by how much.
Seek Help from A Personal Injury Lawyer in Philadelphia, PA
An article can only offer generalized advice. In the event you have been injured through the negligence of someone else, you need an experienced personal injury lawyer from Alfred Abel Law Offices to evaluate your case. Contact us today for a consultation.