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Apportioning Liability in a Florida Injury Lawsuit When More Than One Party is at Fault

In many Florida personal injury cases, more than one party is to blame. Even a plaintiff may share the blame in causing an accident. In these cases, Florida law applies the doctrine of comparative negligence. Under the doctrine of comparative negligence, liability is apportioned depending on the percentage that each party is at fault, as determined by the fact finder (a judge or a jury). That means that if a jury finds that a party is 60 percent at fault and another is 40 percent at fault, each party will be liable for the plaintiff’s damages according to their respective percentage of fault.

This is true also for the plaintiff. Under the doctrine of pure comparative of negligence, and under Florida Statute 768.81(2), even if a plaintiff is found to be mostly at fault, the plaintiff can still recover compensation from other at-fault parties. That is, if a plaintiff is found partially at fault, a plaintiff’s recovery will not be barred entirely, but the compensation owed to the plaintiff will be reduced according to the plaintiff’s percentage of fault.

A defendant may also try to blame an accident on a non-party—a person or an entity that is not a party to the lawsuit. In that case, to allocate fault to a non-party, a defendant may plead the fault of the non-party, and must identify the non-party or describe the non-party as precisely as possible. A defendant must generally identify a non-party at fault by motion or in the initial responsive pleading in the lawsuit when the defendant asserts its defenses. At trial, the defendant must then prove that the non-party was at fault in causing the plaintiff’s injuries by a preponderance of the evidence. A fact finder must then apportion the negligence of the defendant and the negligence of the plaintiff and any other non-parties, ultimately calculating the defendant’s liability. Importantly, when a defendant can shift fault to a non-party, a plaintiff will not typically be able to file another complaint against that party. Thus, it is critical to investigate all potentially liable parties and name them from the outset.

Two Killed in Recent Florida Motorcycle Crash

Two people were killed in a recent Florida motorcycle crash, according to one local news article. Evidently, a 24-year-old man and a 22-year-old woman were riding on the motorcycle when a car made a left turn in front of them while they were passing through an intersection. The motorcycle crashed into the car, throwing the riders off and killing both riders. There were no reports of injury to the driver of the car. The crash took place in Lakeland, Florida, and is still being investigated by law enforcement.

Contact a Miami Personal Injury Lawyer

If you have been injured in an accident and want to speak with a lawyer about your Florida personal injury case, contact the Law Offices of Robert Dixon. Our law firm handles lawsuits stemming from Florida car accidents, motorcycle accidents, slip and fall accidents, medical malpractice, and other types of injury cases. We are here to help clients maximize their chances of receiving the full compensation they deserve. Contact our Miami personal injury attorneys today to set up a free, no-obligation consultation about your case by calling us at 877-499-4878 or by contacting us online.

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