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Overview of Pennsylvania’s Negligence Rules

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Daniel J. O'Brien
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The amount of compensation you can collect in a Pennsylvania personal injury claim depends on your degree of responsibility for your injuries. In Pennsylvania, for example, you can be no more than 50% responsible an accident and still collect damages. That's because Pennsylvania follows the modified comparative negligence - 51% rule. So, if damages totaled $10,000 and you were 50% responsible, you could recover $5,000.

In addition to the 51% rule, there are other negligence laws that are applicable in different states. This includes the comparative negligence 50% rule, pure contributory negligence and pure comparative negligence.

Here's a breakdown of different negligence systems:

  • Modified comparative negligence, 51% rule - 21 states follow this system. The injured party is able to collect damages only if they are less than 51% responsible for the accident.
  • Modified comparative negligence, 50% rule - 12 states follow this system. The injured party must be less than 50% responsible for the accident to collect damages.
  • Pure comparative negligence - 13 states follow this system. The injured party can recover damages even if they are 99% responsible for their injuries. Using the example above, if the plaintiff was indeed 99% responsible and damages were $10,000, they would recover only $100, which is 1% of the damages.
  • Pure contributory negligence - 5 states and the District of Columbia follow this system. The injured party collects nothing if they are even marginally responsible for their injuries. 

In a personal injury claim, the insurance companies decide the percentage of negligence, but if your claim later becomes a lawsuit that is tried in court, it's up to a jury to allocate a percentage of fault to all negligent parties based on evidence.

To make sure that your Pennsylvania personal injury claim is presented in the best light possible, you should enlist the help of a Philadelphia personal injury lawyer with experience and knowledge of Pennsylvania negligence laws.

Contacting a Philadelphia Personal Injury Lawyer

If you have been severely injured in a Philadelphia accident, you shouldn't have to suffer and pay for expensive medical bills that were caused by another person's negligence. Contact a Philadelphia injury lawyer at White & Williams LLP today. We will provide a no-cost, no-obligation consultation on your case - 877-944-8396.

Category: Car and Truck Accidents

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