After a car accident in Florida, you may try to bring a lawsuit against the other driver for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering or other damages.
If you are in a legal position to do this, the other driver may try to argue comparative negligence — or you may be able to claim this yourself if someone brings a claim against you. Work with a DeFuniak Springs car accident lawyer at Powell, Powell and Powell to make sure you understand how comparative negligence claims may influence your case.
When Can A Driver Claim Comparative Negligence?
Florida is a no-fault state, which means that for most car accidents, the insurance company of each driver pays the expenses related to the accident. If an accident meets the standard of a serious injury, though, the driver who was seriously injured can bring a lawsuit against the driver who caused the accident. When this happens, the driver being sued — the defendant — can claim comparative negligence.
This means the defendant is saying the person bringing the lawsuit — the plaintiff — is also partially at fault, i.e., they are comparatively negligent.
For a plaintiff to claim the accident fulfilled the serious injury threshold in Florida, the injured person must suffer permanent injury, significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement. If this has occurred, that typically means the nature of the accident was very serious and working closely with a car accident lawyer is vital.
How Does Comparative Negligence Affect A Claim?
Comparative negligence in an auto accident can reduce the amount of money the plaintiff receives from the defendant or the defendant’s insurance company. The amount of this reduction is based on the percentage of fault the court places on each party.
Florida is a pure comparative negligence state. This means that whatever percentage of fault the court assigns to each party aligns with the percentage of the total amount of expenses related to the accident that have occurred.
For example, say two cars get in an accident and one driver is seriously injured and brings a lawsuit against the other. The court finds that the driver being sued was 90 percent at fault and the other driver who was seriously injured was 10 percent at fault.
If the total amount of damages was $500,000, the responsibility for this amount would divided between the drivers the same way the fault was divided. The driver who caused the serious injuries would be responsible for $450,000 of damages — or 90 percent — and the driver who was seriously injured would be responsible for $5000 or 10 percent.
Because comparative negligence can impact the amount received by the seriously injured party by such a great variable, it’s crucial to contact a car accident attorney as soon as an accident occurs. Don’t let partial fault in a car accident ruin your life or take what you need away from you and your family.