What Is Pennsylvania’s Comparative Negligence Law?
If you have been injured in an accident, you may seek compensation from the parties you consider liable to cover medical bills, lost wages and other damages you’ve suffered. However, it is important to know that Pennsylvania is a comparative negligence state, which means you could see the compensation you receive reduced if you are found to be partially at fault for the accident in question.
Pennsylvania law states that plaintiffs may seek damages from another party so long as they were less negligent than the defendant. Courts can assign a percentage of fault for each party involved, indicating the degree to which he or she contributed to the accident. Generally, you can receive compensation if you were less than 51 percent responsible.
This percentage also directly relates to the amount of compensation you may receive. For example, if you were 25 percent at fault for a car accident, you may receive no more than 75 percent of any settlement from the more responsible party or his/her insurance company.
Implications of Fair Share Act
You should also be aware of the Fair Share Act of Pennsylvania, which the legislature passed and the governor signed in 2011. The law relates to personal injury cases in which there are more than one defendant. For example, if two drivers were responsible for your car accident but one was 70 percent at fault and the other 30 percent, each would only have to pay for the percentage to which he or she was liable.