Comparative negligence isn’t a common term, but an important one nonetheless. Individuals who suffer injuries in accidents caused by someone else’s negligence are legally entitled to seek compensation. This helps to relieve some of the burden caused by medical expenses, property repair costs, lost wages, and other losses. However, car accidents don’t automatically result in a massive settlement. The amount the victim gets depends on several factors including the severity of their injuries, whether or not they’re able to work again, and the skill and experience of their attorney. Another key factor is fault.
If you were involved in a car accident, you will only be able to get compensation if you can prove that another party’s negligence was directly responsible for the accident and your injuries. Attributing fault can be difficult sometimes and drivers rarely accept blame in serious crashes. When fault is in dispute, insurance companies and the courts use the comparative negligence rule to determine who is responsible for damages. They assign a percentage of fault to each party before awarding damages.
Forms Of Comparative Fault
There are three forms of comparative fault practiced in the United States and Florida recognizes pure comparative negligence. Under this system, you don’t have to meet any particular threshold to receive compensation. If you are found to be 35 percent at fault for the crash, your damages would be reduced by 35 percent. This means you would be able to recover 65 percent of your damages. Even if your share of fault was 75 percent, you would be entitled to 25 percent of your damages. That’s because it’s possible to get compensation even if your fault exceeds the defendant.
That being said, if you consult a Lakeland car accident lawyer, they may advise you against filing a claim if you’re primarily at fault. This is because the other party could file a counterclaim against you and the associated legal fees may be more than the amount you would be able to claim in compensation.
Pure comparative negligence contrasts with the modified comparative negligence and pure contributory negligence systems which are practiced in some states. Modified comparative negligence also allows individuals to recover an amount that’s in proportion to their share of fault. However, they can only claim damages if they are less than 50 or 51 percent responsible for the crash, depending on the state. This means people who are primarily at fault for a crash can’t claim compensation.
Meanwhile, only five states continue to practice pure contributory negligence. This rule bars individuals from collecting damages if they are in any way responsible for their injuries. Even if a person was only one percent at fault, they wouldn’t be able to get compensation.
Limiting Your Share Of Fault
If you have suffered injuries in a car accident in Florida and it’s not immediately clear who is at fault, you need to talk to an attorney at the earliest opportunity. They will assess your potential level of liability and advise you on how you can recover maximum compensation. Your lawyer will use several types of evidence to minimize your share of the blame. These include eyewitness statements, video footage, phone records, and police accident reports.
Your attorney may be able to reduce the amount of fault attributed to you and increase the amount you can claim. As with any personal injury claim, you need to prove that the other party violated their duty of care towards you and provide evidence that shows the full extent of your damages. You also need to establish that the other party’s negligence was responsible for your injuries and not some other factor such as your own actions. Sharing blame won’t prevent you from getting compensation following the crash but it can considerably reduce the amount.
Contact Burnetti, P.A. Today To Get Help With Your Case
Florida’s pure comparative negligence law can work either for or against you. You will need to consult an experienced auto accident attorney in Lakeland, FL for a professional opinion on your case. Your lawyer will look at the facts surrounding the accident and your injuries and give you an idea of how much your case is worth.
At Burnetti, P.A. we will ensure that no one blames you unfairly for the crash and we’ll do everything possible to get you full and fair compensation. Call us today to schedule a free consultation. If you choose to hire us, you’ll only have to pay when we get compensation for you through settlement or jury verdict.