After being injured in an accident, many people are shocked when the other party claims that the accident was at least partially their fault. This is often referred to as “contributory negligence,” meaning that the victim’s own negligence contributed to causing the accident or their injury. If the other party is saying that you are partially to blame for the accident, it’s important to understand that it doesn’t mean that you can’t pursue a claim. A Fort Walton personal injury lawyer can discuss your case with you and whether you are entitled to compensation. 

Examples of Contributory Negligence

It may be helpful to understand the concepts of contributory and comparative negligence by discussing a couple of examples. 

  • In a car accident, the other driver ran a stop sign but you were speeding. The other driver alleges that if you had not been speeding, you would have been able to stop in time and avoid an accident. 
  • You trip and fall on the stairs at a bar and break your wrist. The bar owner claims that you fell because you were inebriated. 

In each of these cases, there may be some basis for the other party to claim that the injured person was at least partially at fault. If the other party in your case is claiming that you are to blame for your injury, a Fort Walton personal injury lawyer can provide the guidance you need. 

Florida Follows the “Pure” Comparative Negligence Rule

Put simply, the comparative negligence rule reduces the compensation awarded by the percentage of fault the injured person contributed to the accident. If it is determined that your negligence contributed to the accident by 30%, your compensation would be reduced accordingly. In some states, you are barred from recovering any compensation if your negligence contributed to more than 50% of the cause of the accident. 

Florida, however, follows the “pure” comparative negligence rule that allows accident victims to recover compensation even if their own negligence is responsible for more than 51% of the accident. 

How a Fort Walton Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help

Contributory negligence is an affirmative defense that must be raised by the opposing party. In addition, they must prove two things: 

  1. That you were negligent; and
  2. That your negligence contributed to causing the accident. 

An experienced Fort Walton personal injury lawyer can challenge any contributory negligence claim by refuting their evidence or introducing evidence that supports your case. 

If, however, contributory negligence is established, your lawyer can then take steps to make sure that it is appropriately considered. Again, this will depend on the evidence that the other side can introduce as well as the evidence your lawyer can submit in your favor. Your lawyer will be able to identify the facts and legal precedents you need to develop a compelling argument for minimizing the extent to which your negligence contributed to the accident. 

Contact a Fort Walton Personal Injury Lawyer Today 

Personal injury cases involving contributory negligence can be complicated. At Powell, Powell, & Powell, our personal injury attorneys have decades of experience in handling the most complex personal injury cases. To schedule a free consultation and case evaluation, contact us today at 850-682-2757.