Florida is a comparative negligence state for car accidents. What does this mean?
The pure comparative fault rules in the state provide that in circumstances in which both parties share some degree of blame for the accident, the total amount of the plaintiff’s damages will be reduced by the percentage of fault that belonged to them.
This means cases in which the plaintiff bears no fault will be relatively straightforward—they’ll receive the full value of the damages that were assessed in their case.
But let’s say the plaintiff bore 20 percent of the fault in a case that was worth $50,000. In such a case, they would only receive $40,000, because they would forfeit 20 percent ($10,000) based on their degree of fault in the accident.
Pure versus modified comparative fault
One interesting element of Florida’s pure comparative fault rules is that they apply even if the plaintiff is still mostly at fault.
For example, a jury could decide you are 90 percent at fault, but you would still be entitled to 10 percent of the total damages in the case. Of course, this means you’d still be responsible for 90 percent of the damages to the other driver, so it only slightly offsets.
Other states have modified comparative fault rules in which the plaintiff is only allowed to recover damages if they had less than 50 percent of the fault. After the fault exceeds 50 percent, the damages then drop to zero.
There are a variety of factors that could result in you bearing some fault even if the other driver was mostly at fault. You may have been speeding at the time of the accident, but another driver was drunk or ran a red light and thus was mostly to blame.
For more information about how Florida’s comparative negligence rules could affect your car accident case, contact a trusted Sarasota, FL personal injury attorney at Goldman, Babboni, Fernandez & Walsh.