Determining fault in personal injury cases isn’t always black and white. Sometimes, more than one party can bear fault for an accident. When that happens, comparative negligence determines how much—if anything—a plaintiff can recover.
Florida’s comparative negligence laws
If a plaintiff contributed to causing an accident, or their own negligence made their injuries worse, comparative negligence may apply. Comparative negligence is a legal concept in which each party at fault is assigned a percentage of blame: for example, the defendant may be deemed 80 percent at fault and the plaintiff is 20 percent at fault.
You might assume that if you’re partially at fault for an accident, you cannot sue the other party. Comparative negligence laws ensure that you can still recover damages, even if you contributed to the outcome. If you’re a plaintiff suing to recover damages from a defendant, a comparative negligence determination reduces your compensation by that percentage. For instance, if you’re awarded $100,000 in damages but are 20 percent at fault, you would only receive $80,000 in damages.
There are two types of comparative negligence laws: modified and pure comparative negligence. In modified comparative negligence states, a plaintiff can only recover damages if they’re less than 50 percent at fault. Florida is a pure comparative negligence state, which means that you can recover damages even if you were more than 50 percent at fault. Of course, you’re still on the hook for your contribution to the accident.
If you’ve been involved in an accident where you may bear some fault, it’s important to talk to a personal injury attorney. Call a skilled Bradenton, FL personal injury lawyer at Goldman, Babboni, Fernandez, Murphy & Walsh today.