Philadelphia's Premier
Trial Attorneys

Pennsylvania Comparative Negligence

Pennsylvania Modified Comparative Negligence Laws

In assessing negligence cases, it is important to note that Pennsylvania is a modified comparative negligence state. This modified comparative negligence doctrine allows a plaintiff to recover damages if they are found to be 50% or less at fault for the incident causing their injuries. The recoverable damages, however, are reduced by a percentage equal to the plaintiff’s degree of fault. It’s important to note that if a plaintiff’s fault exceeds 50%, they are barred from recovering any compensation under this doctrine. This approach aims to allocate damages in a manner that reflects each party’s responsibility for the accident.

Negligence Laws in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania negligence laws are designed to provide a legal framework that governs claims where a plaintiff suffers harm due to another’s failure to exercise reasonable care. These laws are centered around the concept of duty of care, which mandates that individuals and entities act in a manner that does not cause undue harm to others. When someone breaches this duty, whether through action or inaction, and that breach results in injury or loss, the affected party has the right to seek compensation for their damages through the legal system.

What is Causal Negligence?

Causal negligence, often discussed within the realms of personal injury and tort law, refers to situations where an individual’s failure to exercise reasonable care directly results in another party’s injury or harm. It highlights the necessity of establishing a clear, causal link between the negligent action (or inaction) and the incident leading to the injury. Unlike comparative or contributory negligence, which assesses the distribution and impact of fault among the parties involved, causal negligence focuses on the origination of the harm. For an individual to be held liable under the concept of causal negligence, it must be demonstrated that their negligence was not merely present, but actually factually caused the plaintiff’s injuries. This requirement is fundamental in personal injury cases, as it ensures that liability is accurately assigned to those whose actions have directly contributed to the harm suffered

How Does Comparative Negligence Law in Pennsylvania Impact My Recovery of Damages?

The impact of Pennsylvania’s comparative negligence law on a plaintiff’s recovery of damages can be significant. Since the recoverable damages are adjusted based on the plaintiff’s percentage of fault, a higher degree of fault on the plaintiff’s part can lead to a substantial reduction in the compensation they receive. For example, if a plaintiff is found 30% at fault in a case where the total damages amount to $100,000, they would only be eligible to recover $70,000, reflecting a 30% deduction. This adjustment encourages plaintiffs to provide comprehensive evidence to minimize their assessed fault. Additionally, surpassing the 50% fault threshold eliminates the possibility of recovery altogether, emphasizing the critical nature of accurately establishing fault in these cases. Let the experienced personal injury lawyers at PhillyLaw help you understand and navigate the complexities of comparative negligence law so that you can maximize your recovery of damages for your personal injury claim.

Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit When There is Contributory Negligence

Yes, you can still file a lawsuit in Pennsylvania even if there is contributory negligence involved in your case. The skilled lawyers at PhillyLaw can help you understand your options in the event that you are partially at fault for your injuries.

Under the state’s modified comparative negligence rules, as long as plaintiff’s contributory negligence found to be 50% or less at fault for the incident that caused your injury, you are entitled to pursue compensation. This means that your role in the incident does not automatically disqualify you from recovering damages. However, the amount you are eligible to recover will be adjusted based on your percentage of fault. It’s imperative to understand that if you are deemed to be more than 50% at fault, you will be barred from receiving any compensation. Therefore, accurately determining and demonstrating the degree of fault is essential in these cases.

What is the Difference Between Comparative Negligence and Contributory Negligence?

Pennsylvania’s Modified Comparative Negligence Law

Pennsylvania’s modified comparative negligence law stands as a middle ground between the strict nature of contributory negligence and the flexibility of pure comparative negligence. Unlike contributory negligence, which denies any compensation to plaintiffs with even a minimal percentage of fault, Pennsylvania’s system allows for recovery as long as the plaintiff is not more than 50% responsible for the incident. This provides some room for plaintiffs who are partially at fault to still receive a portion of damages, making it less harsh than contributory negligence.

On the other hand, compared to a pure comparative negligence state, where plaintiffs can recover damages no matter how high their percentage of fault, Pennsylvania’s law sets a cutoff at 50% fault, beyond which plaintiffs cannot recover any compensation. This distinction underscores Pennsylvania’s attempt to balance accountability and fairness in negligence claims, allowing for compensation in a manner that is proportional to each party’s degree of fault, up to a certain limit.

Contributory Negligence

Contributory negligence is a legal doctrine contrasting sharply with comparative negligence, where if a plaintiff is found to have any degree of fault in causing the incident that led to their injuries, they are completely barred from recovering damages. This means even a minimal amount of fault, such as 1%, can prevent a plaintiff from obtaining any compensation from the defendant. Unlike the comparative negligence system that seeks to apportion damages based on the degree of fault, contributory negligence is an all-or-nothing approach, making the establishment of fault critically important in personal injury cases.

Pure Comparative Negligence

Pure comparative negligence, in contrast to the modified system in use in Pennsylvania and the contributory negligence doctrine, allows a plaintiff to recover damages even if they are more than 50% at fault for the incident. Under this system, there is no threshold of fault that disqualifies a plaintiff from obtaining compensation. This approach is considered more lenient than both modified comparative negligence and contributory negligence as it ensures that plaintiffs can receive at least some compensation for their injuries, no matter the degree of fault.

How Does a Defendant Prove Comparative Negligence in Pennsylvania?

To prove comparative negligence in Pennsylvania, the defendant must demonstrate that the plaintiff had some level of fault in causing the accident. This is achieved through a meticulous gathering of evidence, encompassing eyewitness testimonies, accident scene photographs, video surveillance, and expert testimonies, such as those from accident reconstruction specialists. Furthermore, legal representation can critically analyze the circumstances surrounding the accident to establish a percentage of fault assignable to each party involved. This process requires a deep understanding of Pennsylvania’s negligence laws and often involves complex legal strategies to accurately present the evidence to a court or insurance company.

Let Our Team At PhillyLaw Assist You

At Philly Law, we understand the nuances of Pennsylvania personal injury law. You deserve an experienced Philadelphia personal injury lawyer who can provide the best guidance after a careful review of your case. Our skilled legal team is well-versed in Pennsylvania’s comparative negligence laws, and is dedicated to fighting for the rights of injured people, ensuring they receive the justice and compensation they deserve. Whether negotiating with insurance companies or representing you in court, our goal is to lift the legal burden from your shoulders, allowing you to focus on recovery. If you or a loved one has been injured, we encourage you to contact us for a free consultation. Together, we will explore your options and diligently work toward securing the most favorable outcome for your case.