July 27, 2020

Establishing Negligence To Prove At-Fault In A Personal Injury Case

Establishing Negligence In A Pennsylvania Personal Injury Case Can Be Complicated

For Pennsylvanians looking to file a personal injury claim against a business, the first question is often, “How do I establish negligence against the at-fault party?” The answer is that an experienced attorney at Siddons Law can help you establish negligence and recover the compensation that you deserve. At times, this can feel like an uphill battle, due to laws specific to Pennsylvania. In the sections to follow, we will examine Pennsylvania laws concerning negligence in personal injury cases.

Shared Fault In Pennsylvania Personal Injury

One of the things that complicate matters when it comes to establishing negligence in Pennsylvania is the fact that Pennsylvania is what is known as a “shared fault” state. Essentially, this means that if it is determined that you share some of the fault for your injury, your compensation will be reduced. In a personal injury case in Pennsylvania, the jury will determine what percentage of the fault in your personal injury case is yours and your total compensation will be reduced by that percentage.

If it was determined that you were more than 50% responsible for your injury, you will not be entitled to any compensation. Businesses and insurers in Pennsylvania know this and will fight tooth and nail to prove that you were at least partially to blame for your injury. This is why it is so important to work with an experienced lawyer from Siddons Law.

All of this is very abstract, so let’s look at a concrete example. Let’s say you are turning left as a light turns red. While you are turning, a truck runs the red light and T-bones you. You wind up with $100,000 in damages from the accident. Because both parties ran a red light, a jury will likely assign fault to both parties. If the jury determines that you are only 25% to blame, you will only be able to receive $75,000 in damages ($100,000 less 25 percent). If, however, the jury determines that the fault is mostly yours, the trucking company (or, more likely, its insurer) will not have to pay you anything.

No-Fault Car Insurance In Pennsylvania

Speaking of car accidents, here is something else to consider when it comes to establishing liability in a car accident case: Pennsylvania is a “no-fault” insurance state. This means that unless the damages you suffer in a car accident meet a certain “serious injury” threshold (which the truck accident mentioned in the example above likely would), your insurance company will pay for your damages, not the other driver’s.

This is true even if the other driver is 100% at fault in the accident. This is something to consider when selecting a car insurance plan in Pennsylvania–you want to make sure that your policy is generous enough to cover all your damages. Note that if you are injured as a passenger in someone else’s car, their insurer will cover the damages. Again, this is only for accidents that do not involve serious injury or death. These “minor accidents” comprise most of the car accidents in Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania Personal Injury Statute Of Limitations

Here In Pennsylvania, you have two years to bring forth a personal injury claim against a negligent party. This is what is known as the “statute of limitations.” Bear in mind that this does not mean that your case has to be completed within this timeframe: simply that the paperwork for your case must be filed within two years of your injury. Another thing to keep in mind is that if you are filing a personal injury claim against a government entity, the process works a little differently. First, you need to file a formal claim with the proper government agency, then you need to give that agency time to respond. A lawyer can walk you through this process.

 If you are filing a personal injury claim against a negligent business, we recommend filing your claim as soon as possible. We also recommend seeing a doctor for a checkup following your injury. Another important early step that you should take when filing a personal injury claim is calling an experienced attorney at Siddons Law.

Dog Bite Injuries In Pennsylvania

There are also special guidelines determining who is at fault in a dog bite injury in Pennsylvania. Most dog owners around the U.S. are protected from liability the first time their dog bites someone–unless they had a specific reason to believe that the dog was dangerous prior to the bite. This is known as the “one bite” rule. In Pennsylvania, however, things are a little different. Here, a dog owner is liable even if the bite injury in question is an isolated incident and there were no prior signs of aggressive behavior in the dog. This is known as “strict liability,” meaning that the owner is strictly liable for any injury caused by their dog. This is something to keep in mind when filing a personal injury lawsuit in Pennsylvania.

Hire An Experienced Attorney To Handle Your Personal Injury Claim In Pennsylvania

As we have seen, personal injury law in Pennsylvania can get quite complicated. There are rules and stipulations here that do not apply in other states. This can be especially confusing to new Pennsylvania residents. This is why hiring an experienced personal injury attorney at Siddons Law is so important. The benefits of hiring an experienced personal injury attorney to file your claim against a negligent business or individual include:

  • An experienced attorney knows Pennsylvania personal injury statues inside and out
  • An experienced personal injury attorney can help you prove that the other party was at fault
  • An experienced personal injury lawyer can guide you through the legal process in Pennsylvania

If you were injured as the result of a business’ negligence, the most important thing is to establish that the business was at fault. A personal injury attorney at Siddons Law can do this, helping you earn the compensation you deserve.