Florida Comparative Negligence: What You Need to Know
Wouldn’t it be nice if Florida personal injury lawsuits were black and white? If X is negligent and causes an injury to Y, then X is liable for his or her actions. Unfortunately, in many personal injury accidents more nobody is 100 percent a fault. When there is a case where there’s more than person at fault and nobody is completely without blame, the law of comparative negligence comes into play.
In Florida, comparative negligence allows juries to assign the appropriate level of blame (or negligence) to multiple parties in an accident case. Although it may sound complicated, and very often is, it is a good thing. Before we had comparative negligence, if you were injured during an accident and it was determined that you were even the slightest bit at fault – your maximum amount of recovery would be ZERO. That’s right, if the jury thought you were just a little to blame for your injuries the law prevented you from recovering anything.
Thanks to comparative negligence, this is no longer the case. Now, more than one person can be held at fault for a personal injury. In other words, let’s say you were injured in a car accident. Although the other party was definitely driving reckless and thus liable for your injuries, you were speeding – which may also have contributed to the severity of your injuries. In such a scenario, the jury could decide that the other party was 90 percent at fault for your injuries and you 10%. Thus, if the jury awards your $100,000 for your injuries, your percentage of fault will be subtracted. Thus, you will be awarded $90,000 for your injuries.
According to Florida law, the allocation of fault under the comparative negligence statute can be done by a jury, during mediation or in negations between the parties. In either situation, it is important that you present all the evidence as to the effect that any negligence on your part may have had on your overall injuries. The best way to do this is to seek the advice of an experienced Florida personal injury attorney. To discuss how comparative negligence may affect your personal injury claim, call the Law Offices of James O. Cunningham, P.A. today at 877-FL-INJURY (877-354-6587) for your free initial consultation.
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