What Is Comparative Fault?
When an accident occurs, such as a car accident or premises liability, and a victim is injured, it is critical to determine who was at fault for the incident. This is because if a person is injured due to another party’s negligence, then Florida law allows the victim to pursue damages against the at-fault party.
The legal team from Arcadier, Biggie & Wood, PLLC is dedicated to using all available resources to get accident victims the financial compensation they deserve. We successfully represented countless numbers of clients in helping them get the justice they deserve.
One of the first steps a personal injury lawyer from our firm will take is to examine all the evidence to make that determination. In some accidents, it is very clear which party caused the accident. For example, if a driver runs a stop and crashes into another vehicle, determining liability is pretty cut and dry.
However, there are other cases where fault is not so obvious, or it could be that the victim played some role in causing the accident in which they were injured. In these situations, the liability for any losses is shared between the victim and the other party. This is called contributory negligence.
Florida injury law operates under the standard of pure comparative fault. This means whatever percentage it is determined the victim was at fault, then that percentage will be deducted from the final amount of the recovery award. For example, if the court determines that the total amount of damages a victim suffered in a car accident was $100,000, but they also determine that the victim was 20 percent at fault for the crash, then the award would be reduced by 20 percent and the victim would only receive $80,000. A victim can be awarded damages even if they are found to be up to 99 percent at fault. There are 12 other states and the which use the pure comparative fault standard.
Thirty-three states use the modified comparative fault standard. There are two different types of this standard. One of the 51 percent rule and the 50 percent rule. Under the 51 percent rule, a victim must be less than 51 percent negligent in order to be awarded damages. Whatever percentage they are determined to be at-fault is the percentage that would be deducted from their final award amount. The 50 percent rule bars a victim from suing if they are equally at fault with the other party.
The third type of negligence is only used by four states and the District of Columbia. This is referred to as pure contributory negligence. Under this standard, if a victim has any fault at all – even just 1 percent – they are barred from pursuing damages for their losses against the other party.
Contact a Melbourne, FL Personal Injury Lawyer Today
If you have been injured in an accident that was caused by another party, or you are not sure if you were somehow at fault too, contact a personal injury lawyer from Arcadier, Biggie & Wood, PLLC to set up a free consultation and to find out what your legal options may be.