Determining fault is one of the most difficult aspects of any accident
claim. However, it is also the most important. Determining who was at
fault for an accident, and to what degree, is rarely straightforward –
even in cases that seem “black and white.” For example, let’s
say that Driver A was making a left-hand turn when Driver B, who was driving
30 mph above the speed limit, T-boned Driver A. Who is at fault? In this
case, the answer may be both.
It is not uncommon for two or more parties to share in the blame for an
accident, even if one of those parties is the “victim.” However,
this does not mean that the victim will be barred from recovering any
level of compensation. Florida operates under a
pure comparative negligence standard, meaning that a victim can pursue compensation even if they were
partially at fault. Their recovery would simply be limited by their own
degree of fault.
Understanding Florida’s Comparative Negligence Law
Florida adopted the doctrine of pure comparative negligence in 1973, making
it one of thirteen states to recognize this rule. Under a system of pure
comparative negligence, an injured party is allowed to recover damages
even if they have contributed to the cause of their own accident. Prior
to this, an injured plaintiff would be barred from recovering any level
of compensation if they were found to be even the slightest bit responsible.
Now, you could file a
personal injury lawsuit in Florida if you were up to 99% at fault (although this is not
recommended). A more common example would be that one party is found to
be 90% responsible for an accident and other only 10%. The plaintiff,
although they share in a portion of the blame, would still be able to
recover damages; however, their award would be reduced by their degree
of fault, which, in this case, would be 10%.
How is Fault Assigned in a Florida Personal Injury Case?
If a personal injury case goes to trial, a jury would be expected to apportion
fault. They would take all relevant factors into consideration, including
evidence presented by both sides, in order to make an appropriate and
fair determination. Another way to assign fault would be through mediation,
where lawyers and clients could come together to negotiate a settlement.
This is often the case, as only a small percentage of injury cases go to trial.
Contact Darrigo, Diaz & Jimenez for More Information
If you or someone you love has been injured, you may have questions about
your case. The Tampa personal injury lawyers at Darrigo, Diaz & Jimenez,
Attorneys at Law can provide the answers you need. With more than 200
years of collective legal experience, our firm can guide you through the
often complicated process of filing a personal injury claim. We are available
24/7 and offer free initial consultations to start your case, so please
don't wait to call.
Contact a Tampa personal injury attorney at our firm for more information about your rights.