If you bring a lawsuit against an at-fault party after a Pennsylvania car accident or truck accident, you have to prove the other side was negligent. Basically, this means that you (and your lawyer) must provide evidence which shows the other party acted unreasonably under the circumstances, and their bad behavior caused the accident. You must also show that their negligence caused damage to you in terms of loss of property, medical bills, pain and suffering, and so on. Proving the elements of negligence is your path to recovering financial compensation in a Pennsylvania personal injury lawsuit, whether in terms of a settlement with the insurance companies or, if needed, a verdict in a court of law. However, the concept of negligence per se can make the burden of proving negligence considerably easier, thus providing you with a clearer path to receiving the financial compensation you deserve after a wreck.
What Is Negligence per se? How Is It Used?
Negligence per se is a fancy term which means that someone else was negligent because they violated a law which was meant to protect you and others in your position. For example, the law designating that every driver must stop at a red light is intended to provide for a smooth flow of traffic at intersection, and protect from harm those who have the right of way. If someone runs a red light, crashes into someone else, and causes injuries, the driver who ran the light was negligent per se because they violated the law and caused the wreck. The same concept applies with laws regarding speeding, drinking and driving, and many more.
Negligence per se does not apply in every case. However, if you have been harmed by a driver that you believe was negligent, you may have a path to compensation for your medical bills, lost wages for missed time at work, ongoing care, and very real instances of pain or emotional suffering. The elements of negligence per se are:
(1) The purpose of the law must be to protect you or people in your situation, as opposed to the public generally;
(2) The law must clearly apply to person you wish to sue;
(3) The person you wish to sue must have violated the law;
(4) The person’s violation of the law must cause your injuries.