In that same breath, it’s vital that you know the laws governing car accident damage recovery in Florida. After all, you didn’t get into an accident with yourself, so why should you be the one footing the bill?
Florida’s solution is the Pure Comparative Fault system (or pure comparative negligence). While many Florida residents to this day avoid legal action after a car accident due to being partially at fault, Florida’s auto accident negligence laws are explicitly designed to accommodate all parties involved.
What is Pure Comparative Fault?
Pure Comparative Fault is a concept that limits one’s financial recovery based on how much at-fault he or she was for causing the accident. For example, let’s say you’re driving down the road and the vehicle in front of you stops abruptly, causing you to swerve into the parallel lane to avoid them, but instead you end up striking a tree. You claim that your damages come up to $20,000 as a result of the reckless driver’s actions. However, upon further investigation, it is found that you failed to have your brakes inspected regularly and had you done so, you would’ve been able to stop your vehicle safely.
With that said, it is still clear that the other driver is mostly at fault. As a result, the court determines that you are 30% at fault for the accident and the other driver is 70% at fault, thus allowing you to collect 70% ($14,000) of the total compensation you were seeking ($20,000).
Pure Comparative Fault is even more beneficial for accident victims when there are multiple parties involved as you can pursue compensation from each party individually.
How Negligence is Established in Florida
Before you can pursue compensation from someone, you must first establish that he or she acted negligently. This is one of the most challenging aspects after a motor vehicle collision, but it’s also the most important.
While liability standards vary by state, the following three conditions must be met to establish negligence in Florida:
- The party that caused your injury had a duty not to injure you but failed to meet that duty
- The individual’s duty was related to your injury
- The individual’s inability to meet his or her duty is what led to your injury or damages
If these three factors are not present in your car accident case, you can easily find yourself coming out of pocket for all accident-related expenses.
Alternative Accident Fault Systems
The Pure Comparative Fault system is only one of the many doctrines out there as accident fault is a state issue. Here are the accident fault systems governing other states around the country:
- Pure Contributory Negligence: Individuals who are found to be even 1 percent at fault for an accident lose the ability to seek damages.
- Modified Comparative Fault: There are two interpretations of modified comparative fault:
- 50 Percent Bar Rule: One cannot recover compensation if he or she is found to be 50% or more at fault. One can only pursue compensation if he or she is found to be 49% or less at fault.
- 51 Percent Bar Rule: One cannot recover compensation if he or she is found to be 51% or more at fault. One can only pursue compensation if he or she is found to be 50% or less at fault.
The 51 percent Bar Rule is the most widely accepted in the country as twenty-one states recognize this doctrine. Pure Comparative Fault is the second most popular with thirteen states, then Modified Comparative Fault with twelve states, and Pure Contributory Negligence being the least popular with four states and the District of Columbia.
Benefit From the Help of an Attorney
As a Florida driver involved in any type of motor vehicle accident, it doesn’t matter if you are 99% at fault for an accident, you still can pursue compensation under state law. Allow the team of Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyers at Salpeter Gitkin, LLP to help guide you to the financial recovery you’re entitled to by law.
We’ve helped accident victims across South Florida recover millions of dollars in compensation. Contact us today at (954) 467-8622 to learn more about how we can do the same for you.