Comparative Negligence Laws in Pennsylvania

Comparative negligence laws, which are found in Pennsylvania General Assembly Statute §7102, state that a plaintiff’s contributory negligence does not bar him or her from seeking compensation for damages, as long as he or she was less negligent than the defendant. In other words, if you were injured in an accident, you can hold a level of fault for the accident and still recover damages.

Under comparative fault laweach party in a negligence claim is assigned a percentage of fault. This percentage reflects how much their action (or inaction) contributed to the accident and injuries. Note that Pennsylvania follows a 51 percent comparative negligence rule, which means you can recover damages if you were less than 51 percent at fault. If you are found to carry more than 50 percent of the fault for the accident, you will be unable to seek compensation for damages.

It is important to grasp the importance of these percentages in a personal injury case. The statutes provide that your degree of fault directly correlates to the amount of compensation you are due. For example, if you are deemed to hold 20 percent of the fault, you will be entitled to only 80 percent of the settlement award.