What is comparative negligence? And how does it affect the amount of compensation you can collect after an automobile accident in Florida?
If you’ve been injured in an accident that was caused by the negligent actions of another, Florida state law gives you the right to seek compensation for the damages resulting from these injuries, including immediate and long term medical expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering.
However, in some circumstances, especially those involving motor vehicles, it’s possible for both parties to share blame for an accident.
Comparative Negligence and Damages
In these situations, Florida judges and juries apply what is known as “comparative negligence” when awarding damages. If it’s been determined both drivers (and possibly even a third party) share some responsibility for an accident; the judge and/or jury must then decide to what percentage each party’s negligence contributed to the accident.
When assigning fault using comparative negligence, the percentages must always total 100 percent.
An Example of How Comparative Negligence Works
Here’s an example of how comparative negligence can be applied in a Florida auto accident injury case:
Adam was involved in a Fort Lauderdale auto accident after running a red light. Amy, the driver of the other car, was injured in the wreck. Amy is asking for $20,000 in damages for the injuries she received in the accident.
The case goes to court. Adam ran a red light, no question. However, evidence shows that Amy was driving over the posted speed limit when the accident occurred. If Amy hadn’t been speeding, the injuries she sustained in the accident might not have been as severe.
The judge/jury decides that Amy shares 10% of the liability for the injuries she suffered because she was speeding at the time of the accident. This means Amy will only be able to collect a total of $18,000 dollars from Adam.
Another example of comparative negligence would be if Amy had not been wearing a seatbelt, she might also be found to be partially at fault for her injuries.
Get the Full Settlement You Are Due After a Florida Auto Accident
You’ll want to ensure you get every dollar you are due for the damages caused by your injuries. That’s why representation by an experienced personal injury attorney is critical in accidents involving comparative negligence.
Your attorney will fully investigate the accident and collect the necessary evidence to prove to what extent, if any, you shared for an accident. The lower the percentage of blame it can be demonstrated that you had for the accident, the greater the amount of compensation you can collect for your damages.
Since 1986, auto accident injury attorney Lisa Levine has helped clients in Ft. Lauderdale, Weston, Pembroke Pines, Hollywood FL, Sunrise, Pompano Beach and other South Florida communities recover the full compensation they are due after sustaining injuries in a car accident that was the fault of another. Lisa is dedicated to protecting the rights of her clients. She possesses the resources and expertise to fully investigate an accident and will fight to get you the biggest settlement possible, even if you share some liability for the accident.
Lisa Levine is available for a free initial consultation to discuss your case, answer any questions you may have and provide helpful feedback on your legal options for moving forward. She represents her clients on a contingency basis, which means there are no up-front fees for her legal services and you don’t pay her fees until after Lisa’s secured your settlement.
If you were injured in a Florida car accident, reach out to the law offices of Lisa Levine without delay. The sooner she gets started, the easier it will be to collect the evidence to support your case. Also, Florida law places statutes of limitation on the time in which you can take legal action after an auto accident. If you wait too long, the courts may refuse to hear your case.