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Understanding the Pure Comparative Negligence Law in Florida

accidents-3-145309-mApportioning fault is one of the most challenging yet important factors in the aftermath of a car, truck or motorcycle accident as it determines how much you can recover from that accident. If you’ve been injured in an automobile accident, liability depends on who was at fault. Florida law requires that you establish the other party acted in a negligent manner. The negligence standard varies from state to state which is why it is imperative to retain an experienced personal injury attorney who can advocate zealously on your behalf.

Florida operates under a pure comparative negligence standard. This means that whatever amount you were negligent, your recovery will be limited by that amount. For example, if you are suing another driver and your actions are deemed to be 30% negligent, then your damages will be decreased by 30%. In other words, you will only be entitled to an award of 70% of your total monetary recovery. In this way, the doctrine of comparative negligence apportions negligence among the various parties involved in the accident.

Under state law, you can establish negligence if the following three conditions are met:

  1. The party that injured you had a duty not to injure you but did not meet that duty
  2.  The individual’s duty was related to your injury
  3. The individual’s failure to meet his or her duty is what caused your injury or damages

Florida adopted the comparative negligence standard in 1973. The policy rationale behind the comparative negligence doctrine is that causes of accidents are not always black and white. Often times, accidents are the product of negligent behavior on the part of multiple parties and, thus, it is only fair that each responsible party shoulders their portion of the blame.

Proving blame is usually the difficult part. Video footage, photographs and other hard evidence can make the process easier as they can provide solid answers to important questions. Typically, however, it comes down to the accounts of the drivers and potentially some witnesses. Since the outcome of an automobile accident can rest so heavily on your account of what happened, it is important to be clear and consistent about the events as it helps you establish credibility in front of a jury.

Since multiple parties can be at fault, multiple insurance companies can also be involved. If you speak to the other party’s insurance company, some of your statements can be used to assign fault to you. This is why it is crucial to consult with a qualified and experienced lawyer who can deal with the insurance company for you.

If you or someone you know has been injured in an automobile accident, it is important to act quickly and discuss your specific situation with a competent attorney. No matter what the facts of your case are, Miami personal injury attorney Robert Dixon is committed to helping his clients get what they deserve. Contact us online or call us today at 1-877-499-HURT (4878) for a free, confidential consultation so you can figure out your next steps.