If you were injured in a vehicle accident in Florida, the state’s pure comparative negligence laws could have a big impact on how much compensation you are able to collect.
In some personal injury cases, especially car, truck or motorcycle accidents, each party involved in the accident may share some responsibility. Pure comparative negligence means the amount of money you can recover after an accident is limited by the percentage of fault you had in the accident.
A Tale of Two Drivers Who Get into an Accident
How does that work out? Here’s an example:
You have two drivers: Amy and Bart. Amy stops at a stop sign and prepares to turn left onto a road with no stop sign for the cross traffic …
Meanwhile, Bart is coming down the same road, driving almost 10 miles per hour over the speed limit. Bart doesn’t see Amy until it’s too late and is unable to slow down in time to avoid hitting Amy’s car.
Both parties share some blame for the accident: Amy failed to yield the right of way, while Bart was driving over the speed limit. But who is legally responsible for the accident?
So, Amy sues Bart, claiming she suffered $100,000 in damages as a result of the accident. However, the jury concludes that Amy was partially at fault – her comparative negligence in the accident was determined to be 25%. Bart is 75% responsible for the accident. If the jury agrees that Amy’s damages are worth $100,000, she will only be able to recover 75 % of that amount, or $75,000.
Conversely, if Bart had sued Amy for $100,000 in damages and his comparative fault was 75%, the most he would be able to collect would be $25,000.
Who Is at Fault Isn’t Always Black and White
Florida has been applying comparative negligence in personal injury cases since 1973. The state adopted this policy based on the premise that assigning negligence after an accident is not always black and white. In instances such as auto accidents, where multiple parties may share negligence, it is only fair that each of the responsible parties is liable for their part in the accident.
Speak With a Lakeland Auto Accident Lawyer
Personal injury cases that deal with issues of comparative liability can be complex. Proving who was to blame for what and by how much can be difficult, as can dealing with multiple insurance companies.
It’s important to protect your rights after an accident. The amount of compensation you recover after an accident in Florida is determined by the percentage of negligence you share for the accident. You will want to make sure that you don’t have to pay any more than your fair share.
The best way to protect your rights after an accident would be to hire an experienced personal injury lawyer. If you have been injured in a car accident in Lakeland, Winter Haven, Lutz or other Central Florida community, you can rely on Lakeland auto accident attorney Tania Rivas and the Rivas Law Group to ensure you receive fair treatment after your accident.