Assigning fault in a car accident, at first glance, seems simple. Car A ran a stop sign and hit Car B, so Car A is at fault, right? Not so fast. Sometimes it is more complicated than that. What if Car B was making an illegal turn in front of Car A at the time? If both parties suffer injuries and damage, who is responsible for medical bills, repairs, even lost income? In order to obtain compensation, Florida law requires you establish one party was negligent.
This is where comparative negligence law comes in. As you can see, not all accident cases are black and white. In many cases, both the defendant and plaintiff hold some percentage of fault. However, this does not mean that the plaintiff cannot collect damages. It does mean, however, if the plaintiff were found to have a percentage of responsibility in the car accident, they would receive that much less in financial recovery.
Let us go back to our original example. Car B (plaintiff) decides to take Car A (defendant) to court for hitting their car after running the stop sign. The jury votes in favor of the plaintiff, but also finds Car B 20% at fault for making an illegal turn. The jury awards Car B $20,000, minus 20% for their percentage of fault, with the plaintiff’s recovery for the car accident totaling $16,000.
This is a simplified example, but is the basic idea of how comparative negligence works. The comparative negligence law is, in reality, extremely complicated, due to Florida’s no-fault motor vehicle laws, multiple insurance companies, and the number of parties involved. Most states follow some version of this law, where both parties’ share of fault is taken into account. Comparative negligence is certainly preferable to contributory negligence, where if the plaintiff is found to have even five percent of fault, they cannot collect any damages at all.
Even if a case seems clear-cut, establishing blame can be difficult. You need solid evidence, testimony, and witnesses to counter tough or confusing questions from a jury. The experienced attorneys at Yeboah Law Group will work with you to recover your losses. Our cases are handled on a contingency basis, so you do not have to worry about the stress of legal fees while trying to heal from your vehicle accident injuries. Contact our Fort Lauderdale lawyers at 1-800-TELL-SAM or complete our contact form to schedule a free consultation.