- October 23, 2023
- Posted by: Robert Katz
- Category: Personal Injury
Negligence is often at the heart of personal injury cases, and it’s also one of the more difficult issues to prove. If you’ve been injured and are considering filing a personal injury lawsuit, you’ve got to speak with a lawyer immediately. You’ll need help putting together a case that gets you the compensation you deserve.
What Is Negligence?
Someone is legally negligent if they didn’t do what they were supposed to do (or reasonably able to do) to keep you as safe as possible in a specific circumstance. The negligence can be deliberate, such as not taking care of a dangerous situation that they were aware of, or simply careless because they weren’t paying attention.
It’s vital that you realize that not all dangerous situations can be remedied, and not everyone is aware of everything all the time. If a walkway is icy, and the property owner hasn’t de-iced the area or put up a warning sign, the owner might be negligent if you slip. However, the owner might not know about the problem if the ice formed overnight during an unexpected storm, and you slipped before they woke up.
Negligence is not as simple as saying that the other party should have known better.
What You’d Need to Prove to Determine Negligence
Proving that the other party was negligent and that their negligence led to your injury is not always easy. You need to find out who is really responsible for the area of the accident in which you sustained injury. The responsibility for whatever led to your injury could belong to someone who’s not present, such as the owner of a rented property who doesn’t live or work onsite.
You also need to show that you’re not responsible. If you slipped on a wet floor where there was no “wet floor” sign, but the person cleaning the area yelled at you repeatedly to not walk on that part of the floor, you could be at fault.
Then there are other issues, such as the extent of your injuries and how they affected your life. Requiring simple treatment and healing fully in a short time with no real effect on your life is much different than having severe injuries that make it impossible for you to work.
Contributory and Comparative Negligence
Negligence laws follow one of two definitions. Contributory negligence is a system in which you can’t claim damages if you were in any way responsible for your fall. For example, say a store didn’t have a “wet floor” sign in one of its aisles after staff mopped it, but you were running around the store and horsing around when you slipped. If the store can prove you were partly responsible for your fall, you’d be unable to win damages. The other is comparative negligence, in which your ability to receive damages is reduced but not eliminated if you’re found to be partly responsible for your accident.
Pennsylvania uses a combination of the two. Contributory negligence rules apply if you’re found to be more responsible for your accident than the party you’re suing (even if you’re only a little bit more responsible). However, comparative negligence rules apply if you’re found to be less responsible for your accident than the other party. It’s a tricky set of rules and one you don’t want to face on your own.
That’s why you need good legal representation if you plan to file a personal injury lawsuit. Slip and fall lawyers serving Philadelphia, PA know how to build cases that work with Pennsylvania’s laws on negligence. If you need a personal injury attorney serving Philadelphia, PA, Katz Injury Law can help you with the entire case. Don’t assume you have a slam-dunk case. Contact personal injury lawyers to ensure you have the best case possible for your situation.