What Happens If You Were Partly At Fault?
When an avoidable injury is caused exclusively by one person’s negligence, the personal injury suit is fairly simple. But many cases are more complicated than that — in an auto collision, for example, the drivers of both cars may share some of the responsibility for the crash. What happens next depends on the state you’re in. In a handful of states, a plaintiff can only claim damages if 100% of the blame for an injury falls on the defendant. In other states, the court considers the facts of the case and calculates each party’s proportionate blame — this system is called comparative negligence.
Pennsylvania recognizes the principle of comparative negligence, with one important twist: an injury victim can only file suit against a defendant when the defendant’s share of the blame is greater than the plaintiff’s. This law is known as modified comparative negligence — 50% rule, because the plaintiff must be found less than 50% at fault in order to proceed with a lawsuit.
At Conner Riley Friedman & Weichler, we will guide you through the legal process. The first step is to help you understand how your case fits into Pennsylvania’s comparative negligence measurements. Next, we will thoroughly research your case in order to convince the court that your share of the fault for an accident is low as possible. This, in turn, will help us in our effort to obtain the maximum financial compensation available for your injury.
What Does Comparative Negligence Actually Look Like?
Pennsylvania’s comparative negligence rules are based on assigning a percentage of the fault in any incident to all parties involved. But it can be hard to visualize what shared fault looks like in real life. A few possible examples include:
- One car runs a red light and hits another car, injuring the driver. But while the injured driver did indeed have the right of way, he also negligently texted while driving and not giving his full attention to the road.
- A woman slips and falls on a slippery floor at a restaurant, but she was taking a shortcut to the restroom through an area that had been roped off for cleaning.
- A leashed dog unexpectedly bites a man on the sidewalk, but the man initiated the encounter by petting the dog without asking the owner for permission.
The percentage of fault in these cases can only be determined by a court. No matter what caused your injury, though, we will work with you to explain to the court why your share of the fault is minimal.
Compensation Is Still Available When The Blame Is Shared. Call Us To Learn More.
To learn more about how we can help you seek compensation for an injury even when your actions contributed in some way to the injury, call Conner Riley Friedman & Weichler to schedule an initial consultation. To make an appointment, call 814-240-3339 or reach us by email. From our office in Erie, we serve clients throughout northwestern Pennsylvania and beyond.