All About Comparative Negligence and How It Can Affect Your Personal Injury Case

by Jan 14, 2023Article

If you were partially at fault for your injuries, “comparative fault” is the system used in determining whether you were entitled to compensation. It is the system of fault apportionment that the U.S. and England have used historically. Before the rule evolved to what it is today, if it was determined that your injuries were even 1 percent due to your own negligence, you were unable to recover anything from the party who was 99 percent negligent. However, only a select number of states still follow this anachronistic system known as contributory negligence. Florida is a “pure comparative fault” system, and we will discuss what this means and how comparative negligence factors into your personal injury case.

Florida Is A Pure Comparative Negligence State

Florida follows a “pure comparative fault” system, which means that your level of negligence isn’t a bar to recovery for your injuries, even if you were found to be mostly at fault. Florida negligence law establishes that “contributory fault chargeable to the claimant diminishes proportionately the amount awarded as economic and noneconomic damages for an injury attributable to the claimant’s contributory fault, but does not bar recovery.” Essentially, if the jury finds that you are 80 percent at fault for the accident, 20 percent of your damages are still available to be recovered from the other party. Be aware that many states use a modified comparative negligence system, which bars recovery if the claimant is either 50% or 51% at fault, depending on the state.

Joint and Several Liability In Florida

The question of who you can recover compensation from, and for how much, comes up when three or more parties may have been at-fault for the accident. Florida got rid of the old legal principle of “joint and several liability,” which allowed people to select who they wanted to recover the full amount of damages from. For instance: the driver of Car A was injured in an accident that the jury determined was caused by both Truck B and Car C. Truck B is 90 percent at fault and Car C is 10 percent at fault. Under “joint and several liability,” if Car C has better insurance than Truck B, you could choose that Car C pay all of your damages even though they share fault. Florida law has changed, and now mandates that drivers involved in multi-car collisions solely take responsibility for the fault percentage they are liable for.

Car Accident Claims In Florida

Florida’s pure comparative fault system means that you can sue for damages even if you are found to be partially at fault for your injuries. However, this doesn’t mean that there aren’t other barriers to recovery; there is a medical “threshold” for personal injuries in motor vehicle accident cases under Florida law that your injuries must meet in order to pursue a personal injury claim in Florida courts. The types of cases that meet the threshold are:

  • Permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability
  • Significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function
  • Death
  • Significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement

Contact Us Today

If you were in a car accident, you may need an experienced personal injury attorney on your side to help you get the compensation you are legally entitled to. Call Rosenblum & Mayer in Hollywood, FL to schedule a consultation today.