If you have suffered personal injury due to negligence on the part of someone else, you are probably thinking about submitting a claim for compensation. There is only one problem: If you were partially responsible for the accident, you may wonder if that voids any claim you might have.
This situation is covered under what is called comparative negligence. In the state of Pennsylvania, you can still collect damages depending on the level of your involvement in the accident that resulted in your injuries.
Whether it is a residence or a commercial establishment, Pennsylvania law requires the owner to maintain the property in such a way that no one suffers an injury or dies because of a condition that is dangerous or hazardous. Still, the injured party might have a hand in the incident. For example, you may suffer a slip-and-fall accident in the produce aisle of the supermarket, even though you see the smashed watermelon on the floor. Despite the posted warning sign, you might be bitten by the family dog if you enter your neighbor’s fenced-in yard.
The defendant in a comparative negligence case may try to mitigate his or her responsibility by attempting to assign some measure of blame to the plaintiff. However, if you are the plaintiff and the court decides you are responsible for less than 50 percent of the accident that occurred, you may be awarded damages.
Seeing all sides
According to Pennsylvania law, the fact that you contributed to the negligence in the case does not prevent you from recovery. However, the court may reduce the compensation you receive in proportion to the amount of blame that is attributed to your actions. The goal of your personal injury lawyer will be to ensure that all parties are held accountable for the accident and that you receive the appropriate compensation.