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There are a few state personal injury laws that impact how plaintiffs can pursue a personal injury lawsuit or an insurance settlement in Pennsylvania. This article provides a recap of these laws that can help readers understand them in greater detail.
Pennsylvania’s statute of limitations for personal injury cases usually gives plaintiffs 2 years from the date of their injuries to file lawsuits for compensation. (42 Pa. Con. Stat. Ann. section 5524.) This timeframe is shorten to 6 months for personal injury claims involving a Pennsylvania city, county or state government agency.
It is extremely important to observe these time limits closely because failing to file a lawsuit on time causes plaintiffs to lose their right to file a personal injury claim for their injuries. The sooner you contact your PA accident lawyer, the better.
Pennsylvania allows defendants to use a modified comparative negligence rule to argue that plaintiffs could be at least partially to blame for their injuries.
This rule allows judges to reduce compensation on a percentage basis by an amount that is equal to the plaintiff’s share of the blame. Moreover, judges can also use this rule to throw out claims for compensation altogether if they determine that the plaintiff was more than 50 percent to blame for his injuries.
Pennsylvania uses a no-fault liability rule to determine liability for car accidents. This rule requires that the injured person’s insurance company cover a driver’s medical expenses and lost income no matter who was at fault for the accident.
Exceptions to this rule can occur if plaintiffs can show that their claims meet a “serious injury” threshold for more compensation. Meeting this threshold is tricky because it is difficult to show that a person’s injuries are serious enough to merit extra compensation.
A specific statute (3 Pa. Stat. § 459-502 (b)) makes dog owners “strictly liable” for any biting incidents or attacks involving their dogs. This statue holds dog owners strictly responsible for any injuries that are caused by their dogs.
There Are No Caps on Injury Damages in Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania’s state constitution prohibits the limitation of damages in civil cases involving death or injury. The only limitation on damages that could impact the amount of compensation plaintiffs could receive in an injury case is the state’s cap on punitive damages. This cap is currently set at twice the amount of actual damages.
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