Pittsburgh Negligence Attorney
Negligence in Personal Injury Cases
In most personal injury claims that are filed due to accidents or injuries, the basis for holding persons or entities legally responsible comes from their careless or negligent behavior. Four elements must be proven by the plaintiff (injured party) in any personal injury case, or by the survivors in a wrongful death suit.
They must establish that the defendant:
- Owed a legal duty of care to the plaintiff under the circumstances;
- Failed to fulfill the legal duty through conduct or action (or failure to act);
- Caused an accident or injury involving the plaintiff; and
- Harmed or injured the plaintiff as a result.
If you are interested in making a claim of this nature, you must contact a Pittsburgh personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Only under the representation of a qualified attorney will you stand a chance of beign compensated for the negligent actions thatl led to your accident and injury.
Legal Definition of Negligence
Generally speaking, the term negligence is defined as the failure to use reasonable care. This can be easily defined as when an individual does not exercise the necessary care that would be expected from any reasonable person or acts in a manner that a reasonable person would not have. This is often the cornerstone of personal injury cases, however, due to the vague nature of its definition, it can be difficult to define and/or prove. It is therefore typically the responsibility of the plaintiff to help outline proximate cause. Simply put, this means that the action (or lack of action) on behalf of the defendant proximately caused the injuries that were sustained by the plaintiff.
For example, one common personal injury cases involving negligence is a car accident. When getting behalf the wheel, drivers are expected to act like any prudent person. If the plaintiff is driving safely, observing all of the rules of the road, and is rear-ended by a driver who had been too busy texting to watch the road, it could be argued that the texting driver had behaved negligently – therefore causing the accident and subsequent injuries sustained by the plaintiff. Now, let's say the plaintiff had been driving when another car cuts across two lanes directly in front of them. Through defensive driving tactics, the plaintiff is able to avoid the crash, but is still hit from behind by a driver who was texting and not paying attention. This is a case of multiple proximate causes and several forms of negligence; the plaintiff may be able to take action against both.
Explaining Comparative Negligence
Under Pennsylvania Statute §7102, personal injury cases in the state will be held under the comparative negligence rule. This statute allows that a plaintiff may have contributed to the accident or injury that they sustained (known as contributory negligence); however, just because they may have been partially at fault does not "bar a recovery." In states which operate under contributory negligence, should a plaintiff be determined to have even been one percent at fault, they will no longer be able to seek compensation.
With comparative negligence, however, the plaintiff will still be allowed to seek compensation. Their recovery will simply be diminished in direct proportion to the proportion that they were at fault for the accident. For example, say a plaintiff is involved in the car accident described above with the single texting driver and the court deems that the recovery is estimated at $100,000. If the plaintiff had acted negligently and was deemed 20 percent responsible for the accident, they could only recover 80 percent of the damages - in this case, only $80,000.
Contact Frank Walker Law Today
Attorney Frank Walker is our firm's founding attorney and is known as a fighter with a reputation for getting results. He is committed to obtaining the best possible outcome for his clients and regularly grapples with adjusters and insurance agents who seek to deny, delay or under-pay legitimate claims. With our founding attorney's experience to guide us, we will hire the best investigators, accident reconstruction experts and injury professionals to review your case. If we can settle and obtain a fair compensation for your losses, we will do that; but make no mistake, we will always be ready to take your case to trial and fight for the best compensation we can get for you. Contact a Pittburgh personal injury attorney from the firm to learn more.