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The “Fabre Doctrine” in Florida 

car accident

When multiple parties are involved in an automobile accident, apportioning liability can be difficult. If you have been injured in a car wreck, it is important to seek the help of a skilled Miami attorney who can assess the merits of your case. You can trust that we will try to get you the compensation you deserve for your harm. At the Law Offices of Robert Dixon, we understand the nuances of personal injury law and can apply this knowledge in your case.

Florida is a pure comparative negligence state and also adheres to something known as the Fabre doctrine. Under the principle of pure comparative negligence, your recovery will be limited by the amount you were responsible for the accident. For example, if you are suing another driver, and you are found to be 20% at fault, your damages will be decreased by 20%. In other words, you will only be permitted to recover an award of 80% of your total monetary damages. In this manner, the doctrine of comparative negligence apportions negligence among the different parties involved in the accident.

Some time ago, the Florida Supreme Court established what is known as the Fabre Doctrine, which is a method by which a defendant may try to blame all or part of your damages on some other individual or entity, a non-party to the lawsuit, thereby avoiding being forced to pay all or part of your damages.

As a practical matter, this is important because a defendant can blame an unknown tortfeasor, such as a driver who left the scene of the accident. Think of the following example. If Johnson sues Miller, you would expect the two people on the verdict form to be Johnson and Miller. However, under the Fabre doctrine, if Miller claims that a third party was also negligent, and that third party contributed to or caused the plaintiff’s harm, a jury can put that third party’s name on the verdict form and assign a percentage of fault to that person, even though they are not officially a party to the initial lawsuit. The Fabre doctrine is important because it can significantly limit the plaintiff’s recovery.

The defendant may point to a third party even if that third party cannot specifically be named. It is enough for the defendant to reasonably identify the third party. The defendant, however, must be specific in regard to the negligence of the Fabre defendant. The mere inference or implication of negligence is not enough.

Determining each person’s liability in any given accident case can be a difficult task. At the Law Offices of Robert Dixon, our Miami car accident attorneys have the skill, dedication, and experience to handle virtually all types of personal injury claims. Personal injury law cases can be complex, and having the right attorney on your side can make all the difference. With years of experience, we have proudly helped many South Florida clients seek the compensation they deserve for their harm. You can trust that we will vigorously advocate for your legal rights at every step of the way. To learn more, call us at 1-877-499-HURT (4878) or contact us online today.

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