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Comparative Fault In Florida Car Accidents

All states have laws that define what happens when multiple parties are at fault in negligence actions. Our Miami personal injury lawyers know that lawsuits involving car accidents are essentially personal injury actions where one party (the plaintiff) asserts that another party (the defendant), has committed an act of negligence, and is at fault for the car accident. Oftentimes, more than one party is at fault for an automobile accident. When this happens, the plaintiff has contributed to the fault of the accident, and therefore has caused his or her own injuries to a certain extent. In Florida, this is called comparative fault.

Florida Law Regarding Comparative Fault

Under Florida law, if a plaintiff files a lawsuit and is found to be at fault in some way, then the compensation that plaintiff would receive is reduced by the percentage he or she is at fault. For example, let’s say that a person (“Driver One”) was involved in a car accident where the other driver (“Driver Two”) ran a red light. Driver One suffered severe head trauma when his head slammed into the windshield of his car. Therefore, Driver One files a personal injury lawsuit against Driver Two for the injuries he suffered as a result of the accident.

However, it turns out that Driver One was not wearing his seatbelt. While this driver may not have caused the accident, he may have contributed to his own injuries that resulted both from Driver Two running the red light, and by Driver One not wearing a seatbelt. Had Driver One been wearing his seatbelt, his head may not have slammed into the windshield and he may not have suffered as serious of an injury. This may not seem like a fair outcome, because had Driver Two not run the red light, the accident would not have occurred. But, if you are an injured driver and you are filing a lawsuit, any fact that exists that could have contributed to your injuries will be assessed against you when you are seeking compensation.

Therefore, the Florida legislature has determined that the fairest way to both compensate an injured party and hold him or her accountable for breaking the law, is to reduce the compensation by the percentage that the plaintiff was at fault. Returning to the example above, if a jury determined that Driver Two was 70% at fault by running the red light and causing Driver One injuries, and that Driver One was 30% at fault for his own injuries because he wasn’t wearing his seatbelt, then Driver One would receive 70% of the compensation he would have recovered had he been wearing his seatbelt. The easiest way to understand this is to take $1,000,000 as the amount of damages the plaintiff suffered. If Driver One is 30% at fault, his reward is reduced by $300,000, and he would recover $700,000.

Why You Need a Miami Personal Injury Lawyer

As you can see from reading the information above, comparative fault can be difficult to understand in car accident cases. An experienced attorney can look at all facts of your case and help you determine if you contributed to your own injuries in any way. The seatbelt example above is a very common scenario in car accident cases. Because your compensation can be significantly reduced if you are not wearing a seatbelt, it is extremely important to always follow the law and have your seatbelt on. Even if you really didn’t cause your own injuries, the possibility always exists that a jury may find that you were at least partially responsible for your own injuries and that your compensation should be reduced accordingly.

Contact Our Miami Personal Injury Attorneys Today To Schedule Your Free Consultation

The law firm of Greenberg Stone and Urbano employs Miami Personal Injury Lawyers who have over 100 years of combined experience in advocating for their clients who have sustained injuries in serious car accidents. Our skilled attorneys have been named “Superlawyers,” a title associated with being among the best lawyers in America. Our lawyers have also earned a rating of “AV” by Martindale Hubbell and have been voted “South Florida’s Top Rated Lawyers” by the Miami Herald. They have also been invited to be members of Primerus, an international society of leading law firms. Call Greenberg Stone and Urbano today to schedule your free consultation. One of our seasoned personal injury attorneys will investigate and evaluate your claim and advise you of all your legal options. You may contact us through our website or call us at (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400.

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