After an accident, people can suffer from physical injuries as well as emotional wounds. If someone is partially at fault for the incident, they often don’t pursue damages. However, even if you are partially at fault for your injuries, you may still be able to recover damages.
What Is Comparative Negligence?
In Florida, parties with partial fault can receive damages because of pure comparative negligence laws. Under these rules, you can receive compensation for damages attributable to the other party’s negligence and fault.
When Does Comparative Negligence Apply?
It is important to note that comparative negligence law does not only apply in car accidents. This law applies in any personal injury case, including but not to limited:
- Premises liability
- Dog bite cases
- Slip and fall accidents
What Is an Example of Comparative Negligence?
Consider this: Bailey is texting friends about their dinner plans, while she is driving. As she prepares to take a left turn, she glances up from phone and sees that the light is yellow. Thinking she can make it, Bailey continues texting and driving and fails to notice the light turn red. You have a green light and are driving 25 miles over the speed limit, and as Bailey runs the light, you collide. You both can file a claim for damages.
In this instance, both drivers acted negligently and breached the duty of care they owed to other drivers. If either party does file a personal injury claim, the courts will assign a percentage of fault to each driver before awarding any damages.
In the example of the car accident above, suppose the court found you 30% and Bailey 70% responsible for the accident. In that case, the court will award you damages at the reduced rate of 70% of your total damages. Looking at specific figures, if you suffered $250,000 in damages, then you would only receive $75,000.
Even though you are partially at fault, you will still receive a percentage of your damages for actual economic loss, as well as pain and suffering. All the damages (economic, noneconomic, punitive) that exist in any other personal injury case will still apply in a case that involves comparative negligence. The only difference is that you will only receive a percentage of the damages owed to you based on your percentage of fault.
What If There Are More than Two Parties in the Accident?
Florida's comparative negligence law will apply in the same manner. Each party involved will be apportioned a percentage of fault for causing the accident. Each party will still be able to recover damages as well—decreased by the amount of fault assigned to them.
Determining Your Percentage of Fault
In determining the percentage of fault a party has, the court will consider evidence and arguments presented by both the plaintiff and defendant. As with all personal injury cases, the following elements must be proven to receive compensation:
- The defendant owed you a duty of care.
- The defendant negligently failed to meet that duty of care.
- The defendant’s negligence caused your injuries.
You need the assistance of an experienced negligence lawyer to present the evidence in the best possible light to the court or an insurance adjuster.
Speak with One of Our Attorneys Today
Florida personal injury cases involving comparative negligence have an extra level of complexity in comparison to other personal injury cases. If you’ve been injured in an accident, you should reach out to our experienced attorneys as soon as possible. You can limit your comparative negligence, and retaining with an attorney can help you:
- Understand your potential liability
- Maximize your recovery with a solid defense strategy
- Protect your interests
- Gather supportive evidence (like witness testimony, phone records, and camera footage)
At The Watson Firm, PLLC, our attorneys have a comprehensive understanding of the law and a wealth of experience with comparative negligence cases. We understand the legalities well and would love the opportunity to fight alongside you for the compensation you deserve.
For help with your personal injury claim, contact us online or at (850) 607-2929. Our legal team is known for its dedication to excellence, and one of our attorneys would be happy to take the time to review your case.