As such, our practice is varied, with experience in several areas. A few of the most common include:
- Car, truck and motorcycle accidents;
- Medical malpractice;
- Premises liability (unsafe property conditions, negligent security, slip and fall);
- Bicycle and pedestrian accidents;
- Construction accidents;
- Severe injury (brain, spine);
- Dog bites; and
- Wrongful death.
Personal injury lawsuits will almost always be based on some form of negligence law, which seeks to compel recovery against the person deemed most at fault for an accident. In Pennsylvania, it is also a good idea to be aware of the state’s comparative negligence doctrine. The theory of comparative negligence states that a plaintiff may still recover for an accident even if they are liable to some degree, if their liability does not exceed the defendant’s.
For example, if the defendant driver is held 75% liable for a car accident that cost $100,000, and the plaintiff driver was found 25% liable, the plaintiff may still recover, but her damages will be reduced by 25%, because that is how much she was at fault. The concept of comparative negligence is that the plaintiff should not receive compensation for the percentage he or she was at fault or that the defendant should not have to pay 100% of the damages, if the plaintiff was also at fault for some percentage.
To succeed in bringing a negligence claim, four points must be established in law. First, the defendant must have owed a legal duty of care toward the plaintiff. If this can be established, it must then be established that the duty was breached. It must be shown that the breach had direct causation in the defendant’s actions, and that the plaintiff suffered actual harm or damage. If even one of these points collapses, a case will usually do the same. For example, if you are in a car accident, the other driver has a duty to drive safely in a reasonable manner. If the defendant driver causes the accident by not driving safely, they have breached that duty. If the unsafe driving by the defendant caused the accident and you suffered injuries or damages, you have met all the elements of a negligence or tort lawsuit.
In some cases, negligence may be imputed as a matter of law. For example, in many states, including Pennsylvania, if you are convicted of a DUI/DWI, you may automatically have been held to be negligent per se – that is, by virtue of committing a DUI, your conduct will be held to have been negligent as a matter of law. This is because the law against DUI is designed to prevent auto accidents and impaired driving. Thus, breaking the law by driving under the influence and causing an automobile accident is negligence in and of itself.
Contact A Bala Cynwyd Personal Injury Attorney
If you or a loved one have been injured, we can help. The Pearce Law Firm, P.C. serves many cities in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, and we will do our very best to help you get back on your feet. Contact our Philadelphia office today for a free initial consultation; we will be happy to discuss your options with you.