Maybe you didn’t see an oncoming car while you were backing out, or maybe you weren’t paying attention while walking. Whatever the reason, you’re at least partially to blame for the injury you sustained. However, that shouldn’t let the other party off the hook, especially if they acted recklessly or negligently, right? Can you still recover for your injuries and property damage if you were somewhat responsible for the accident?
Pennsylvania’s comparative negligence statute
Every state has different methods for dealing with a plaintiff (the person bringing the lawsuit) who had some level of responsibility for their injury. Pennsylvania’s standard used is called comparative negligence.
Under comparative negligence, the plaintiff cannot recover anything in a personal injury lawsuit if they were more than 50% at fault. If they are 50% or less at fault, they can recover – but the court will reduce their recovery in proportion to their level of fault.
What this means for personal injury plaintiffs
This means that, when you bring your personal injury lawsuit against the person or persons who caused the accident, the court will first apportion responsibility for the accident. They will figure out what percentage of responsibility each party has.
Next, they will determine if your percentage of fault is less than 51%. If it is, they will allow the case to proceed.
Then, if you win your case, the court will subtract an amount proportional to your level of fault from your total recovery. For example, if your total recovery would be $20,000, but you were 25% at fault, the court will lower your recovery by 25% and you will get $15,000.
Everyone makes mistakes from time to time. Luckily, your mistake won’t prevent you from recovering from a negligent party what you need to compensate you for your injuries and property damage.