If the victim, known as the “plaintiff” in a personal injury suit, can demonstrate this to a judge or jury, he or she will be eligible to receive compensation, generally referred to as “damages.”
Pennsylvania Shared Fault Law
In many circumstances, multiple parties may be at fault in one accident. If you have a case against another party and are also somewhat at fault, it may affect the amount of compensation that you can receive. Pennsylvania follows a rule that is referred to as “modified comparative negligence.” This means that if you are also at fault in the accident for your injury, the amount of damages you receive will be reduced by the percentage you are at fault. For example, if it is determined that you were 20% at fault for your injury and the jury found that you suffered $100,000 in damages, your total amount of damages would be reduced to $80,000.
It is important to note, however, that if it is determined that you were more than 50% at fault for your own injury, Pennsylvania law bars you from collecting anything from any of the other parties.
Damages for Personal Injury Lawsuits
If a person successfully brings a personal injury case against another party, he or she may be awarded damages as compensation for his or her injury. In personal injury cases, damages are generally awarded under two different categories:
- General Damages: General damages are awarded to cover the actual costs that the victim incurred as a result of the injury. This includes costs such as medical expenses, damage that occurred to the victim’s property, and any loss wages that the victim may endure as a result of not being able to work during the period of recovery.
- Punitive Damages: Punitive damages are awarded in order to “punish” the liable party. These are generally awarded in circumstances where the person’s conduct who caused the injury can be described as “willful misconduct.” Willful misconduct can be intentional conduct or conduct characterized as the person knowing there could be serious injury that resulted from their actions. Most states have statutes that limit the amount of punitive damages that may be awarded in a personal injury case. In Pennsylvania, the state’s laws cap punitive damages at two times the amount of the actual damages awarded.
Under Pennsylvania’s state constitution, limitations on damages in cases that involve injury and death are specifically prohibited. The only exception to this rule is the cap that is placed on punitive damages.
The Importance of Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney
If you have suffered injury in Willow Grove or anywhere else in Pennsylvania, it is in your best interest to hire an attorney to see if a civil lawsuit should be filed against the liable party to recover damages. Before you do, however, we invite you to contact the Willow Grove personal injury attorneys at the Pearce Law Firm, P.C. for legal assistance. We will examine the specifics of your case, and pursue the best course of action to ensure you receive the highest amount of compensation possible.