If you want to file a successful personal injury claim in Pennsylvania, you and your lawyer will need to gather sufficient evidence of liability. Failing to prove how the opposing party is responsible for the damages incurred will prevent you from recovering any compensation whatsoever. While the strongest example of evidence depends on the specifics of each case, you’ll need to prove each of the following elements to recover a payout.
The 3 Components of Liability in Most Personal Injury Claims
1. A Breach of Duty
Negligence is the basis of most personal injury claims, and it’s characterized by a breach of duty. In addition, the defendant must have owed the plaintiff a duty of care before they could breach it. This duty can be formally established, as it is between patients and doctors, or it can be implied, as it is between motorists and other drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians. After explaining why the opposing party owed you a duty of care, you’ll have to demonstrate how they deviated from the most widely acceptable behavior given the circumstances.
Once a breach of duty has been established, you must also be able to demonstrate that it was directly responsible for your injuries. If you were struck by a drunk driver, for example, but you were speeding at the time, a liability dispute is likely. In Pennsylvania, such a dispute could limit the total compensation to which you are entitled. The Keystone State has a modified comparative fault system, which means the settlement or verdict is reduced by the plaintiff’s own percentage of fault. Additionally, those who are found more than 50% liable for their damages are barred from recovering anything at all.
You must have incurred actual damages as a result of the defendant’s negligence. You can use relevant records, invoices, and receipts to prove such losses. In the state of Pennsylvania, recoverable damages typically include hospital expenses, follow-up care, lost income, loss of future earnings and benefits, domestic help, and alternative transportation. You may also seek non-monetary losses like pain and suffering, embarrassment and humiliation, and loss of enjoyment in life.
For help filing a personal injury claim, turn to Stine & Associates, P.C. Practicing out of Greensburg, PA, this personal injury firm is backed by more than two decades of experience in the legal field. Their areas of practice include motor vehicle collisions, Social Security disability, and workers’ compensation. To request a case review, complete the form on their website or call (724) 837-0160.