Today’s legal tip answers the question, “What is Comparative Negligence? And how does it affect my Pennsylvania Personal Injury case?”
If you made a legal claim in Pennsylvania for injuries, the defendant has the right to claim that you, yourself, were responsible for causing the accident, and therefore you, yourself, are responsible for the injuries. The legal claim that the defendant makes in the case is called a Claim for Comparative Negligence, that you, as the plaintiff, were negligent. What will happen during the case is that if the case goes to trial the jury will have to decide who was negligent, you as the plaintiff, the defendant, or both of you. If it’s determined that you were partly responsible for the accident, it can have an effect on your case. Under Pennsylvania law, if you were to be assigned more than 50% of the comparative responsibility for the accident, as Comparative Negligence, you would not be able to recover any compensation from the defendant. However, if you were determined to be 50% or less responsible for the accident due to your Comparative Negligence, you can recover compensation, but the amount of your compensation is reduced by the percentage of your Comparative Negligence.
For example, if you sued one defendant for a car accident and the jury determined that both you, as the driver of one car, and the defendant, as the driver of the other car, were responsible for the accident, the jury would have to apportion the negligence totaling 100%. So if the jury were to determine that you were 40% responsible, but the defendant was 60% responsible, you can recover in the case but the amount of your compensation that the jury determines you deserve will be reduced by 40% to account for the fact that the jury found you 40% responsible for the accident. So that’s how Comparative Negligence works. If you’re determined to be more than 50% responsible for an accident you can’t recover. If you’re determined to be 50% or less responsible, you can recover, but the amount of your compensation is reduced by your percentage of fault.
That’s our tip for the day. Again, my name is Tim Rayne. I’m a Personal Injury Attorney in Pennsylvania. Please don’t hesitate to contact me by phone, or email, if you have any other questions. Also, please understand that unless you retain me I’m not your attorney. Thank you.