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What is Comparative Fault in an Auto Accident in Florida?

One of the most crucial factors in an auto accident is deciding which party is at fault. To determine the party at fault means that a determination has to be made with regard to the liable and responsible party. This subsequently establishes the party responsible for paying the related damages caused by fault or negligence.

This is one of the reasons why the state of Florida considers the comparative negligence or comparative fault. The state of Florida implemented the comparative fault doctrine in 1973. The doctrine falls in the auto accident or personal injury category of case law. This set of guidelines included in the doctrine allows the jury to assign blame, fault or negligence more accurately.

Comparative Fault in Florida?

Prior to adopting the comparative fault doctrine, individuals in the state of Florida that were involved in a vehicle collision would be off the hook, even if found partially at fault. Therefore, the victim was unable to recover any losses and would not be compensated for injuries, even if they had the help of an auto accident attorney.

The comparative fault law was introduced, and was a welcome change for many motorists. With comparative fault, more than one individual can carry the fault for an auto accident. It is a common occurrence for two persons to be at fault simultaneously, contributing to the same auto accident.

An Example

Let’s say that Tom, Jan, and Jerry were driving in separate vehicles and Jan was driving in front of the other two drivers. Tom’s vehicle was behind Jan’s, and Jerry’s vehicle was behind Tom’s. If Jan stopped suddenly, both Tom and Jerry would have to brake suddenly and it could cause a multi-car accident.

Even though Jan stepped on the brake suddenly for whatever reason, hitting someone from behind automatically means that driver is at fault. In this case, Tom may be 90% at fault because he was directly behind Jan, and Jerry could assume 10% of the blame. If Jerry was injured in the auto accident, he would only receive 10% less in financial recovery.
In the state of Florida, the comparative fault doctrine allows the injured person to only recover the amount of which he or she was at fault and no more. That means in Jerry’s case, if the settlement amount for the case was $100,000, Jerry would only receive $90,000.

If an auto accident attorney filed your claim, the attorney would make an attempt to determine your part in the accident. If you were deemed to be 30% at fault, the comparative fault doctrine determines that you could only claim for 70% of damages – or that amount you were not at fault. So your settlement amount would be 70% of the total and not 100%.

You Do the Math…

An auto accident attorney would also make an attempt to see if you meet the conditions of establishing negligence against the other party.

Work with a Knowledgeable Auto Accident Attorney

Regardless of circumstance, if you find yourself involved in an auto accident in the state of Florida, you should consult an auto accident attorney right away. They will help make sure that you understand the concept of comparative fault and how it impacts your case.

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  4. Should I Have Additional Auto Accident Insurance?

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