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May 31, 2019. Category: Car Accidents

If I Was Partially at Fault for My Florida Car Accident, Can I Still Recover Compensation for My Injuries?

In a Florida car accident lawsuit, a plaintiff seeking to recover damages for their injuries must prove that the other driver or drivers were to blame. Fault is a key issue in every personal injury case, and if you can’t demonstrate to the judge or jury that the other parties’ recklessness or negligence were the cause of your injuries, you simply will not recover any compensation.

But sometimes, the issue of fault isn’t an either/or proposition. Sometimes, the driver seeking compensation for their injuries may be partially to blame for the collision. Maybe the driver had a broken brake light and stopped suddenly but was rear-ended by another driver who was tailgating. If the brake light was functioning, perhaps the crash wouldn’t have happened. If the driver of the second car wasn’t following way too closely, he or she might have been able to stop before impact.

When there is plenty of blame to go around and you were partially at fault for your car accident, can you still seek compensation in a Florida personal injury lawsuit?

You certainly can, but how much you can recover for your injuries is directly related to how much a judge or jury finds you were to blame for the accident.

“Comparative Fault”

When multiple parties are found to be at fault for a car accident, Florida courts determine how damages will be allocated in a lawsuit using a system known as “proportionate responsibility,” sometimes also referred to as “comparative fault.”

Florida law regarding comparative fault provides that “In a negligence action [such as a car accident lawsuit], contributory fault chargeable to the claimant diminishes proportionately the amount awarded as economic and noneconomic damages for an injury attributable to the claimant’s contributory fault, but does not bar recovery.” F.S.A. § 768.81(2).

Here’s how comparative fault works in a Florida car accident lawsuit. Let’s say that a jury finds that an injured plaintiff who sued another driver for compensation suffered $100,000 in damages. However, the jury also determined that the plaintiff was 30% at fault for the accident, while the defendant was 70% at fault. The plaintiff driver would only be able to recover $70,000 in damages from the defendant because, under Florida law, “the court shall enter judgment against each party liable on the basis of such party’s percentage of fault…”

Call a Florida Car Accident Lawyer to Discuss Your Case

Allocation of fault in a Florida car accident lawsuit depends on the specific circumstances of each case. An experienced personal injury lawyer can thoroughly develop the facts and evidence in your case to maximize the proportion of responsibility allocated to the other driver and increase your chances of obtaining substantial compensation for your injuries. 

If you’ve been in a car accident and think you may have been partially at fault, don’t let that deter you from reaching out to a personal injury attorney. You still may be able to receive compensation for your injuries. Most Florida personal injury attorneys offer free initial consultations, so there is no cost to find out whether you may have a viable claim.

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