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Understanding Pennsylvania personal injury law

When you suffer a serious injury caused by individual or corporate negligence, you may be eligible for legal damages for your medical bills and other costs. In Pennsylvania, you have two years from the date of the incident to file this type of lawsuit.

Explore the process of seeking compensation when you experience an injury resulting from an auto accident, medical malpractice, a fall or another incident.

Modified comparative negligence

Pennsylvania follows a shared fault model for personal injury lawsuits, known as modified comparative negligence. When the plaintiff has some amount of fault for the incident, the court can reduce the damage award by the fault percentage. However, if you hold more than 50% of the fault for the accident, you cannot recover any amount of damages.

For example, if another driver runs a red light and hits your car, but one of your headlights was out, the judge may find you 10% at fault for the incident. If damages total $50,000, you would receive 90% of that amount or $45,000.

Proving negligence

When determining fault in an injury, the court will consider whether a reasonable person would have acted similarly in the same situation. For example, failure to warn customers about a wet floor in a supermarket would result in liability for the store, because simple, common actions like posting caution tape could prevent an injury resulting from a fall. Photos, police reports, videos, witness accounts and other evidence can help prove negligence in a personal injury case.

The role of insurance coverage

For personal injury resulting from auto accidents, Pennsylvania is a no-fault state. The responsible driver’s insurance company will cover damages such as medical bills and lost wages. However, the injured driver or passenger can sue the at-fault party only in the case of certain catastrophic injuries.

Pennsylvania residents can seek both economic and noneconomic damages such as pain and suffering in a personal injury case. The state does not mandate a cap on these damages.

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