Last time, we began looking at the topic of comparative negligence. Picking up where we left off: here in Pennsylvania, comparative negligence law utilizes a 51 percent bar, meaning that if the plaintiff was not more negligent than the defendant or defendants together, he or she will still be able to recover.
When there are multiple defendants in a personal injury case, comparative negligence law in Pennsylvania holds the each defendant is liable for the proportion of the damages corresponding to their respective degree of liability. In order for a plaintiff to recover against multiple defendants, he or she would have to seek each out for the specific amount each owes, except in certain types of cases.
The cases where a plaintiff would be able to seek the full amount of damages from any one of the defendants are cases where a defendant has been held to be liable for at least 60 percent of the total liability of all parties. Other situations include those where there was intentional misrepresentation, an intentional tort, the release of certain hazardous substances, and a civil action falling under the Liquor Code. Jointly liable defendants who pay more than their share of liability are able to recover from other defendants according to the degree of overpayment.
The circumstances where comparative negligence can come up in personal injury litigation vary considerably. When it does come up, a plaintiff needs to be able to present a strong, clear case reducing their own liability and upholding the fault of the defendants involved in the case.