Proving Liability in Personal Injury Cases in Philadelphia

Anyone who has been injured has the absolute right to hold the person at fault accountable. That fault – known as liability in legal terms – is the cornerstone of personal injury cases. Liability is the foundation for holding people accountable for the harm they have caused others. However, the trouble becomes figuring out who, and how many people, are to blame for the injury. And once you’ve determined who, you then need to figure out how to prove it. Understanding how proving liability fits into the legal landscape of personal injury law is essential to building a strong case in Greater Philadelphia.

Whether you’ve suffered a traumatic brain injury, burn injury, slip and fall accident, or something entirely different, you deserve to see justice, accountability, and just compensation for the harms you have suffered, and Larry Pitt & Associates, P.C. is committed to making that happen. We proudly serve clients in Allentown, Coatesville, Upper Darby, Media, Norristown, Bethlehem, Doylestown, West Chester, Chester, Bensalem, Easton, Reading, and beyond. Backed by over four decades of experience, our team has dedicated an entire practice to advocating for the rights of injured people across Pennsylvania, and we have proving liability down to a science. We’re ready to start fighting for you, your future, and your rightful settlement today.

Understanding Liability and How to Prove It

Liability, fault, and negligence all carry the same meaning in the law, and determining who behaved negligently is the backbone of any successful personal injury case. Negligence occurs when someone breaches their duty of care to another, causing injury. To establish negligence, you must establish four critical elements: duty, breach, causation, and damages. 

The first element, duty, refers to a person’s duty of care to avoid causing harm to others. This is a legal obligation that we see in action every day: using good judgment and reasonable caution to avoid hurting those around us. Some people have a heightened duty of care, including doctors, dentists, lawyers, accountants, and similar professionals who have the requisite skill and training to be held to a higher standard than an average person when they’re acting in a professional capacity.

Once you’ve shown that the negligent party owed a duty of care, the second element, breach, refers to whether that duty of care was violated. The standard that Pennsylvania law uses to determine whether a person acted with reasonable care is to ask whether an ordinarily prudent person – an average Joe of typical intelligence and common sense – would have made the same choice. If they didn’t, that duty was breached. For those professionals mentioned, that standard isn’t just an average person, but an average practitioner in their field. You wouldn’t expect an average person to be trusted to perform root canals, but you would ask whether other dentists would have made that same choice, for example.

Once you’ve shown that you were owed a duty and the negligent party breached that duty, the next step is proving causation. Causation requires showing that there was a cause-and-effect link between the negligent party breaching their duty and the injury you suffered. Their actions need to be the direct cause of your injury, and not just loosely related.

Lastly, once you’ve shown that someone breached their duty of care and caused you an injury, you need to show that the injury caused you harm, which is known in the legal world as damages. These damages must be translated into a dollar value, which is much simpler for medical bills and lost wages than it is for pain and suffering. An experienced Philadelphia personal injury attorney can provide valuable insight into what your case is worth.

While this may seem complex, a good example is picturing someone who is hit by a car while walking in a crosswalk and sustains a broken leg. The injured party can show that the driver owed a duty of care to follow traffic laws and stop for pedestrians, that they violated that duty of care for failing to do so, and that they were hit as a result, and their damages were the medical bills, pain and suffering, and lost wages associated with recovering from that broken leg.

In many personal injury cases, expert witnesses play a vital role in establishing liability. Whether it’s a healthcare provider testifying to the extent and cause of injuries or an accident reconstruction expert discussing the way an accident unfolded, their testimony carries significant weight in Pennsylvania courts. An experienced attorney can help line up credible expert witnesses who can shed light on who bears the liability in your case.

What Happens When More Than One Person is Liable?

It’s common that, in personal injury cases, there’s more than one culprit when an injury occurs. When more than one person causes the injury, they are each assigned a percentage of the blame and are responsible for that percentage of the overall damages. However, what happens when the victim is partly to blame?

In that case, the victim can collect the total value of the case minus the percentage they were deemed liable for. If they were deemed 10% liable, then they could only collect 90% of the damages. However, if the injured victim is more than 50% responsible, they cannot recover damages.

Larry Pitt & Associates: Fighting for the Injured in Greater Philadelphia and Beyond. We Won’t Quit. 

Proving liability in Philadelphia personal injury cases requires a comprehensive legal understanding and a skilled approach to presenting evidence. Each element must be established with precision and expertise. If you or a loved one were injured in Greater Philadelphia, you deserve to see accountability and just compensation. The skilled personal injury lawyers at Larry Pitt & Associates, P.C. are prepared to leverage their knowledge to build the strongest possible case for liability and compensation. Contact us or call us at 888-PITT-LAW today for a free and confidential consultation!



Larry Pitt

Larry Pitt

If you've been injured, Larry Pitt & Associates can provide you with the legal assistance and representation you need to ensure that justice is served. Get in touch today for a free consultation to discuss your case. Whether it’s a work injury, auto accident, medical malpractice, or any other injury-related matter, we are here to help make sure your rights and interests are respected. We understand the stress and frustration that can accompany an injury, and we are committed to providing thorough legal guidance and support throughout the entire process.