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Negligence Laws in Pennsylvania

book shelf with legal booksMost personal injury claims are based on the legal concept of negligence, where one person’s careless actions caused an injury to someone else.

The reputable Harrisburg personal injury lawyers of Schmidt Kramer are here to educate victims about the state’s negligence laws. The information below will help you better understand the elements of negligence and how the state’s negligence laws will affect your case.

Elements of Negligence

Successful personal injury cases establish the negligence of the party from whom you are seeking damages. There are four elements of negligence:

The Defendant Owed You a Duty of Care

This means the defendant owed you a legal obligation to avoid reckless behavior that could be reasonably expected to cause an injury. One of the ways to prove this element of negligence in a car accident claim is to show that the other driver was violating traffic laws, such as the speed limit.

The Defendant Breached the Duty of Care

This means the defendant failed to uphold the established duty of care for the situation. A breach of duty of care can be a specific action or a failure to act.

Proximate Cause

You also need to show that the breach of duty of care was the primary cause of your injuries. Your attorney may have to counter claims from the defense that your injuries were caused by a preexisting medical issue or other factors.

Your Injuries Caused Damages

You need to show proof of damages created by your injury. This refers to things like medical expenses and lost wages. 

Pennsylvania Comparative Negligence Law

Pennsylvania’s comparative negligence doctrine for personal injury cases says the victim can be found liable for a portion of the incident causing his or her injury and still recover damages, provided his or her percentage of negligence is 50 percent or less.

However, Pennsylvania’s comparative negligence law reduces compensation awards by the percentage that the plaintiff is found negligent. In other words, an award of $100,000 would be reduced to $60,000 if the plaintiff is found to be 40 percent responsible.

Fair Share Act

Pennsylvania’s Fair Share Act states that defendants in a personal injury claim are only responsible for their share of negligence.

This law is commonly utilized when more than one party is being sued. Each defendant will be responsible for the amount of compensation awarded in proportion to the percentage of fault they are found to hold in the matter. This means that if a defendant is 45 percent liable, he or she must pay 45 percent of the total compensation awarded.

The exception to the rule is for a defendant who is found to be 60 percent or more negligent in a matter. In these situations, the defendant will be responsible for the total amount of compensation awarded.

Contact Our Pennsylvania Personal Injury Attorneys Now

The Pennsylvania personal injury lawyers of Schmidt Kramer fight to recover fair compensation for those who have been injured due to another person’s negligence, this includes compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Our skilled personal injury attorneys work on a contingency basis, meaning we are paid only if we secure compensation for you. We offer free initial consultations to discuss your case, and you are under no obligation to proceed with our firm if you decide to take legal action.

Call (717) 888-8888 or complete our Free Case Review form.