From a car accident to a slip-and-fall incident or a dog attack, personal injuries come in a variety of forms. Depending on the severity of your injuries, you might end up with thousands of dollars in hospital bills and lost income, among other expenses.
If you sustain injuries due to someone else’s negligent, reckless or intentional actions or inactions, it helps to know that you do not have to grapple with the resulting damages on your own. Pennsylvania laws allow you to sue the liable party for economic and non-economic damages by filing a personal injury lawsuit. However, there is more to personal injury lawsuits than simply claiming that the defendant’s conduct resulted in your injuries. Here are two important statutes that you need to understand when filing a personal injury lawsuit in Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania’s modified comparative negligence statute
Pretty much every civil lawsuit centers on the issue of negligence. This legal term describes a defendant’s breach of their duty of care towards you. To find the liable party at fault and, hence, responsible for your damages, Pennsylvania courts apply a doctrine known as modified comparative negligence.
Per modified comparative negligence, damages are reduced based on your contribution (if any) to the incident that resulted in your injuries. However, you will not receive any compensation if the court establishes that your fault was 51 percent or more. This is known as the “51% Rule.”
Pennsylvania’s statute of limitations
Nearly every legal matter is constrained by a time limit known as the statute of limitations within which a defendant must file their claim. Most often, the court will deny a claim that is filed after the expiration of the statute of limitations. In Pennsylvania, you will generally have two years from the date of your injuries to sue an at-fault party.
Protecting your rights
If you are hurt in an accident that is not your fault (or is only partially your fault), you deserve justice. Learning more about Pennsylvania negligence laws can help you safeguard your rights and interests while pursuing compensation for resulting damages with the assistance of a legal professional.