Pennsylvania recently enacted a law known as the Fair Share Act which limits the rights of injury victims to recover in the event that more than one party is responsible for causing injury. We earlier discussed the dangers of this law in our newsletter (See this link for details). Previously, injured parties were able to recover the entire amount of a verdict or judgment from any responsible party. Under the new law, a responsible party is required to pay only the percentage of negligence attached to it by a jury, unless that percentage is greater than 60%. A party who is 60% or more responsible for causing injury may still be required to compensate the injured party completely for their loss. The new law does not apply in the following circumstances: (1) a suit including an intentional misrepresentation; (2) a suit involving intentional acts causing injury; (3) a suit concerning the release or threatened release of a hazardous substance under the Hazardous Sites Cleanup Act; or (4) a suit where the defendant has violated Section 497 of the Pennsylvania Liquor Code.
The new law presents a danger to injured parties in that their ability to recover for injuries caused by others may be restricted, especially where the injuries are severe. Application of the new law may, in certain circumstances, permit a deep pocket defendant to escape with only minimal contribution.