When a claim for damages caused by an accident is filed with a Florida court, the judge or jury must determine which party caused the accident. As you can imagine, the party whose negligence caused the accident typically pays for the resulting damage. If more than one party caused the damage, then negligence is distributed between the parties. The judge or jury must ultimately decide whether the actions of the defendant, the plaintiff, or both, caused the accident. Based on the evidence presented by the parties, the judge or jury will then allocate the amount or percentage that each party was negligent. In Florida, this allocation of negligence directly impacts the final damages awarded.
In a comparative negligence system like we have in Florida, the injured party may still recover some of his or her damages even if he or she was partially to blame for causing the accident. However, the plaintiff’s financial recovery may be reduced, or even prohibited, depending how the plaintiff’s actions caused or contributed to the accident.
Using this system, an injured party may recover damages even if they were 99% at fault in causing the injury, with those damages reduced by their portion of the fault. For example, in a car accident between Steve and Michelle where Steve was found to be 99% responsible, and the jury found that Steve suffered $50,000 in damages, that award would be reduced by Steve’s 99% fault in causing the injury. In the end, Michelle would only have to pay 1% of Steve’s damages, or $500 in this case.
Other states have rules that limit recovery based on allocation of fault or use an entirely different system. It is important to contact an experienced personal injury attorney in your state to advise you on your legal rights. For further information on your legal matter, feel free to contact Tampa’s top-rated Personal Injury Attorney John Castro at (813) 907-9807 or request a free consultation using our consultation form. Visit Attorney John Castro’s profile page for more information, including former client reviews.