Florida Comparative Negligence and Motor Vehicle Accidents
“I was injured in a motorcycle accident. The police officer said that I was partially to blame. I disagree. Can I still receive compensation for my injuries?”
This is common in motorcycle accidents but fault can also be a problem in all motor vehicle accidents. First, the police officer’s finding of fault is not always true. The officer is basing his or her findings on the position of the vehicles and the statements of the drivers. However, vehicles are often moved in minor accidents to avoid traffic backups; therefore, the officer must then rely on the drivers’ statements which may contradict each other.
Never assume that you are not entitled to compensation if the police report states that you are at fault or contributed to the collision. If you are injured in a car accident, contact a Boca Raton personal injury attorney to understand your legal right to receive compensation for your injuries.
You may be entitled to compensation under Florida’s comparative negligence laws even if you partially caused the accident.
What is Florida’s Comparative Negligence Laws?
Every state, including Florida, has a law regarding comparative negligence or comparative fault. Comparative negligence looks at the percentage each driver is at fault in a motor vehicle accident. In most crashes, one driver is usually 100% at fault; however, this is not always the case. In some collisions, both drivers may be partially at fault.
For example, if a vehicle turns left in front of you at an intersection but you were speeding to get through the intersection on a yellow traffic light, a jury may find that you and the other driver both contributed to the collision. The percentage of fault assigned to you for the accident determines the amount of compensation you are entitled to receive from the other driver.
Under Florida’s comparative negligence laws, your compensation is reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to you. If a jury finds that you were 40 percent at fault for the collision, your recovery will be reduced by 40 percent. For example, if your damages are $100,000, you will only receive $60,000 in compensation. This is also known as a pure comparative negligence standard.
How Do You Prove Fault?
In order to receive any compensation in an automobile accident, you must prove that the other driver was at fault. Under Florida’s laws, you establish fault by proving negligence. To prove negligence you must show:
- The other driver had a duty not to injure you;
- The other driver failed in that duty; and,
- The failure caused your injury.
Drivers always have a duty to others not to do anything that causes injury while they are operating a motor vehicle. When a driver does something that causes an accident, the driver fails in that duty. If someone is injured, that driver is responsible for the damages caused by the accident.
Proving fault can be a complex undertaking that requires the assistance of an experienced Boca Raton personal injury attorney.
Call The Broderick Law Firm, P.L.
Our Boca Raton car accident attorneys have the experience and resources you need if you have been injured in an accident. We can help you receive the compensation you deserve from the responsible driver. Contact our office today 1-800-333-3903 to schedule your free consultation.