How Do You Prove Negligence in Pennsylvania?
by Eric Chaffin | Last Updated: January 8, 2021
When an individual is hurt in an accident that is caused by someone else’s negligence, it is legally classified as a personal injury.
Proving negligence in Pennsylvania requires the plaintiff to show how the defendant breached a duty of care. However, that can depend on the relationship between the parties and the circumstances of the accident.
Our attorneys help victims of personal injury prove who was at fault for the accident that caused their injuries. Our team is committed to excellence, tirelessly pursuing full compensation for our clients.
How negligence is defined
To recover compensation in a lawsuit or liability insurance claim, someone who is injured must show several things:
- Duty – The defendant or business was under an obligation to do something (or to refrain from doing something). In general, people have a responsibility to exercise caution in whatever they do so that they do not harm others.
- Breach – The defendant who had the duty also breached it. For example, the doctor did not exhibit the competence required of their specialty, or the driver of the car during rush hour was intoxicated.
- Causation – The defendant’s breach of duty must have caused the accident or injury. It must also be logically related or foreseeable. For example, if the at-fault driver had been speeding earlier in the day, but speed was not a factor in the accident, that breach of duty was not a cause.
- Damages – The medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and any other consequences for which compensation is sought– were all caused by the accident.
Proving all of the above is complex and technical. Evidence can include business records, eyewitness testimony, photographs, bills, and may even require the testimony of expert witnesses.
Our experienced attorneys decide what is needed to present your strongest case while meeting these strict requirements.
Types of personal injury caused by negligence
To prove negligence, you need to know what kind of duty may have been breached.
Personal injuries can be the result of car accidents, trips or slips, and falls, defective products, medical malpractice, workplace accidents, and many other situations.
The duty and the breach of it– can arise out of any of the above. For example:
- A driver must follow traffic laws and exercise caution to protect their passengers and others on the road
- A doctor must meet the standard of care for their profession
- A product manufacturer must ensure their products are safe when they are released to the public.
- A business that invites customers onto its property must keep those premises free of dangerous conditions.
- A truck driver and the company they work for must meet many state and federal standards to protect others on the road
Your attorney will determine if any special duties apply to your case, as well as how to prove a breach. This requires early action to obtain evidence while it is still fresh.
Speak with a lawyer as soon as possible after your injury.
Other considerations in proving negligence
Demonstrating the defendant’s negligence is also complex. There may be exceptions as well as defenses.
- A negligent party is immune from a lawsuit
- Multiple parties contributed to the accident
- The statute of limitations has expired
- The injured person’s own negligence was the primary cause of the accident
Call us today for a free consultation
No matter how your personal injury arose, your case will benefit from seasoned advice from a Pittsburgh personal injury lawyer from our firm– who takes the time to understand the intricacies of your case.
Make sure your rights are represented. Call us today to discuss your case with one of our skilled lawyers. Consultations are free and confidential.