Pennsylvania Governor Thomas Corbett caused drastic changes to joint and several liability laws when he enacted The Fair Share Act 42, Pa.C.S.A. § 7102. Essentially, the new law allows defendants to only be held liable for the portion of a judgment that is the equivalent of their percentage of liability in a truck accident, or any other negligent act, for that matter. The Fair Share Act does not necessarily put to bed the joint and several liability law that Pennsylvania was accustomed to, as there are always exceptions to the rules.
When Percentage Does Not Count
In some instances, the joint and several liability laws that Pennsylvania personal injury attorneys and victims alike were accustomed to would still exist. The tortfeasor would also be responsible to pay the judgement in its entirety, no matter the percentage of fault, in the following situations:
- Intentional misrepresentation;
- An intentional tort;
- Where a defendant has been held liable for not less than 60% of the total liability apportioned to all parties;
- Threatening to release or releasing a hazardous substance that falls under the Hazardous Sites Cleanup Act, section 702;
- Serving alcohol to a patron who is visibly intoxicated, as under the Liquor Code, Section 497.
What Does This Mean for Truck Accident Victims?
What does all of this mean for victims who have been injured in truck accidents? The most relevant and important exception to The Fair Share Act for anyone who has been injured seriously in a truck accident is the third exception on the list: Where a defendant has been held liable for not less than 60% of the total liability apportioned to all parties. This means that the victim and his or her attorney must be able to prove that the truck driver was, indeed, more than 60% at fault for the truck accident.
In most truck accidents, as opposed to minor car accidents like fender benders, the injuries and damages that result are often serious and devastating for the victims. Their lives are typically affected in a variety of different ways, from losing time at work to dealing with the pain and suffering that comes along with the serious injuries they suffered. But, that does not mean that it will be easy to prove that the truck driver was at fault, especially when fault has to be proven at or above the 60% threshold.
Are You a Truck Accident Victim?
The laws are often confusing to those who do not study and practice them constantly, and they are often difficult to read and decipher. On top of that, the burden of proof in truck accident injury cases falls on the plaintiff. That is why it is best to hire an experienced Pennsylvania truck accident attorney to help you understand the laws that pertain to your case and prove negligence to ensure you get fully compensated for everything that you have been through. Contact the law office of Solnick & Associates, LLC at (215) 512-0039 to speak with a Pennsylvania truck accident attorney today.
(image courtesy of Seb Creativo)