How Comparative Fault Works in Florida
If you’ve been injured in an accident through no fault of your own, you’re probably aware that you may be entitled to compensation from the responsible party. Florida’s personal injury laws allow you to seek monetary damages for your losses, including medical costs, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other forms of damages. However, the key to the above is the reference to “no fault of your own.” Florida has a statute regarding comparative fault, which could affect the amount of compensation you can recover under certain circumstances where you may have been partially at fault too.
The statute and related legal concepts are very complex, so it’s wise to consult with a Florida personal injury attorney to protect your rights. An overview of comparative negligence may also be useful.
Application of Florida’s Comparative Fault Statute in Personal Injury Claims: Most personal injury claims occur because of careless or reckless conduct, which is termed “negligence” in the practice of law. To prevail in this type of case, you must prove that the responsible party breached the legal duty to exercise reasonable care, and this breach was the direct and proximate cause of your injuries.
Even when you have sufficient evidence for each element of a negligence-based case, the opposing party may be able to defend your allegations by claiming that you were also at fault. The comparative fault rule doesn’t prevent you from recovering any compensation, but it may limit the amount you receive. The statute states that, if your own actions contributed to the injury-causing accident, your monetary damages may be reduced on a percentage basis. The exact percentage of your fault is compared to that of the other party, and this figure is applied to reduce the total amount of damages. For example, if a jury finds that you were 25% at fault, and the defendant was 75% at fault, the total damages awarded to you would be reduced by 25%.
Examples of Comparative Fault: The argument of comparative fault can come up in almost any claim involving personal injuries. For instance:
- Your compensation may be reduced if you were hurt in a car crash hit by a driver who ran a red light, but you were speeding at the time of the collision.
- Comparative fault concepts may affect your damages if you were a pedestrian who was jay-walking when struck by a motorist.
- If you were hurt in a bicycle accident, you may not recover the full amount of compensation if you were weaving in and out of traffic.
- Dangerous conditions on property can cause serious injuries, but you must also exercise reasonable care. If you ignore a sign or barricade that prevents access to a section of the premises, the property owner may claim comparative negligence to reduce the amount you can recover.
Contact a Florida Personal Injury Lawyer Regarding Your Case
To learn more about your rights under Florida’s comparative fault law, please contact the Florida personal injury attorneys at Freidin Brown, P.A. We can set up a no-cost case evaluation to discuss your circumstances at our offices in Miami or Fort Myers, FL.