Monday, January 16, 2012

Exceptions to the New "Fair Share" Act

On June 28, 2011, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett signed into law Senate Bill 1131 what is now referred to as the Fair Share Act.  This new law has profound implications on personal injury lawsuits in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with more than one defendant. Now, joint and several liability in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania has been reduced to a list of exceptions.

Residents of Pittsburgh must know that the law now states "where liability is attributed to more than one defendant, each defendant shall be liable for that proportion of the total dollar amount awarded as damages in the ratio of the amount of that defendant's liability to the amount of liability attributed to all defendants and other persons to whom liability is apportioned."

This is completely different from the old (better) Pennsylvania law, where each defendant could potentially be held responsible for the entire verdict regardless of their proportion of liability.  The old law better assured that injured parties would receive full compensation for their verdicts.  Before, when one party was on the hook for paying an entire judgment they could then look to the other defendants to pay their share of responsibility.  Now, courts are required to "enter a separate and several judgment in favor of the plaintiff and against each defendant for the apportioned amount of that defendant's liability."

There are, however, exceptions to the new bar on join an several liability.  Joint and several liability still exists in the following types of lawsuits:

-  Intentional misrepresentation
-  Intentional torts
-  Where a defendant is found 60 percent or more liable
-  Cases concerning the release of a hazardous substances under the Hazardous Sites Cleanup Act; and
-  civil actions in which a defendant violated section 497 of the Pennsylvania Liquor Code.

Unfortunately, the new law applies to all cases with claims arising on or after June 28, 2011. The date of accrual, under Pennsylvania law, is the date the plaintiff knew or should have known he or she was injured.

If you have a case where more than one party may be found responsible for your injuries but only one of the defendants has the money sufficient to pay the claim, you will want your attorney to be intimately familiar with Share this post :
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