In cases of partial fault, Florida follows the legal theory of comparative negligence.
With this legal theory, the key is determining the percentage each driver is at fault. In an accident, one driver may be more negligent than the other.
Comparative negligence is a great legal concept because drivers may still recover for their injuries, even if they were partially at fault.
What Would A Case of Comparative Fault Look Like?
Here’s an example: Jennifer was driving at dusk without her lights fully illuminated. Jane was texting while driving and blew through a red light.
Jennifer had to quickly veer her car into a ditch to avoid a collision, sustaining serious injuries and totaling her vehicle.
This is a case of comparative fault. Jennifer was negligent by driving without her headlights, but Jane was more negligent by driving while distracted and running a red traffic light.
If a court decided that Jennifer was only 20% at fault for the accident, she could recover for all but 20% of her damages or 80%.
But What if Both Drivers are Equally Responsible?
The next question many people have is: what happens if the drivers in an accident are equally at fault?
The good news is that Florida is a “pure comparative negligence” state, meaning that a driver who was half at fault could recover up to 50% of their damages from the accident.
The bad news is that if you can recover 50% of your damages, you are also open to liability for your fault in the accident.
To protect yourself, it is a good idea to talk to an experienced Florida car accident lawyer about your case.
What Does Negligence Look Like?
When understanding comparative negligence, it is important to know the definition of negligence.
In Florida, to determine whether a party has been negligent, three elements must be satisfied.
- The person causing injury had a duty not to injure and did not meet that duty.
- That the person’s duty was related to the nature of your injury. And;
- That failure to meet their duty is the cause of the injury or damages.
So, when we talk about negligence in automobile accidents, a plaintiff must prove that the other party had a duty to do no harm.
This prong is satisfied easily because every driver owns the road owes the other drivers and pedestrians in the area a duty of care. If that breach of duty causes an injury, then negligence has occurred.
An experienced Florida car accident attorney can help you determine the best course of action if you’ve been injured in an accident where you were partially at fault.
Contact the attorneys at FL Legal Group to talk about your case.