In case you haven't heard, our U.S. Senate is going to vote soon on joint and several liability legislation – either Senate Bill 500 (SB500) or Senate Bill 2 (SB2), also known as House Bill 1 (HB1).
We encourage you to contact your local Senator's office and vote 'yes' for SB500 and 'no' for SB2 and HB1. It will only take a few minutes, and it will help protect innocent accident victims for years to come.
These two bills deal with the elimination of what's called joint and several liability in Pennsylvania. Joint and several liability has been the law for hundreds of years in personal injury cases. Basically, it means that if someone or something was at fault for hurting another person, then they should be held responsible.
SB2 or HB1
SB 2 (or HB 1), would essentially eliminate this important legal concept of fairness by setting an impossibly high (60 percent) threshold in order for joint liability to be applied. What SB 2 (HB 1) really does is unfairly shift the burden from those at fault for the accident to people who have been injured, many times through no fault of their own. If SB2 (HB1) is passed, these victims will be left "holding the bag" with no right to get the money they need for medical bills and to move on with their lives.
SB500, sponsored by Senator Stewart Greenleaf, is a better law than SB2 (HB1), because it does not remove joint liability in cases involving innocent victims. It eliminates joint liability for an accident victim whose percentage share of responsibility is less than the other person involved in the accident and penalizes those at fault. It also protects those who are innocent and who have been injured through no fault of their own. Innocent victims have suffered enough with their injuries and medical bills. They shouldn't have to suffer more because of a bill that would allow those at fault to escape responsibility.
The bottom line – SB500 is fair and SB2 (HB1) is not.
We want people to be treated fairly when they're in an accident. If SB2 is passed, you may not have fair legal rights, even when you deserve them. If you were a victim seriously injured in an accident, which one would you prefer?
Within the coming weeks, you most likely will vote on reforming joint and several liability law in Pennsylvania. For the benefit of accident victims everywhere and to protect yourselves in the future, should you ever be injured in an accident, we urge you to support SB500 and to oppose SB2 (HB1).
Please look up your local Pennsylvania senator, and contact them as soon as possible.