Car accidents strike countless times each and every day throughout Florida. There are many different types of accidents, from drivers failing to see a stop sign to drivers talking on a cell phone and drifting into a different lane. In fact, frequently the causes of an accident are myriad, many different factors combine to cause a collision, often with significant property damage and personal injury.
Because of this many community members who are involved in these Florida car accidents have questions about how the law deals with cases where different parties are both partially at fault for the accident. Can you still recover for part of your losses even if you weren’t driving perfectly at the time of the incident?
Comparative Negligence in Florida
Fortunately, when it comes to situations where more than one party is partially at fault, Florida follows “comparative negligence” rules. The basic idea behind comparative negligence is pretty straightforward. A judge or jury will apply a percentage of fault to each party and the total damage will be paid out as a percentage of the fault. For example, consider a two car collision where a jury decides that one driver was 10% at fault in an accident (for going over the speed limit), while another was 90% at fault for failing to fully stop at a stop sign. The jury then determines that the first driver suffered $200,000 worth of damage as a result of the accident. The actual award will be reduced by the percentage that the party was at fault (10%). And so in that case the driver would actually receive $180,000–with $20,000 removed for their own role in the incident
While that process seems relatively straightforward and based on common sense, many jurisdictions still do not follow that rule. In fact, in some places even being 1% at fault is a complete bar to recovery. In those states, a party may be denied any compensation for relatively trivial details.
Local residents are fortunate that Florida has a much fairer system. However, because of the comparative negligence rules, it is very common for these cases to include a lot of finger-pointing with each side blaming the other for contributing to the accident. That is where experienced legal professionals are vital. Your attorney will takes advantage of accident reconstruction and collect evidence which best advances your rights and ensures as full compensation as possible.
Always Get Legal Advice
At the end of the day, the only way to know for sure what is in your best interest after an accident it is important to have independent legal advice. In Miami and other communities in southern Florida, contact a Florida car accident lawyer at Gerson & Schwartz.