You are probably aware that it is possible to recover compensation after a Florida car accident, but you may not know that there are certain limitations. For instance, the State statute of limitations in a personal injury case is four years from the date the auto collision occurred; if you do not file a lawsuit within that time, your claim is forever barred. In addition, where your own negligence contributed to your injuries, your conduct may impact the amount of compensation you receive. An Ocala, FL car accident attorney can tell you more about comparative negligence and how it might affect your rights.
Overview of Comparative Negligence Under Florida Law
The original system of holding claimants responsible when their own conduct was a factor in an accident is termed contributory negligence. If a victim’s actions contributed in any way to the incident that caused injury, no matter how insignificant, he or she is barred from obtaining any compensation for losses.
Florida does not follow the contributory negligence that acts as a complete bar, but there are still consequences if you are partly negligent in a car crash. The concept of comparative negligence accounts for the actions of both drivers, so your compensation is subject to reduction based upon the circumstances of the collision. There are different approaches to the theory of comparative negligence, which are:
- Modified Comparative Negligence: Under the theory of modified comparative fault, a person can only recover for car accident injuries if he or she was less than 50 percent responsible for the incident. That individual’s compensation would be reduced by his respective percentage of fault, but would still recover at least 51 percent of the total amount of compensation allowed by law.
- Pure Comparative Negligence: Florida law follows the theory of pure comparative negligence, which may still act to reduce compensation of the victim. Your own actions are not a bar to recovery, regardless of what percentage of fault is attributable to you. The statute states that the fault chargeable to you will diminish the amount awarded as damages, proportionately to your conduct. Therefore, if you were 20 percent to blame for speeding and the other driver was 80 percent blameworthy for running a red light, you can still obtain 80 percent of your economic and noneconomic damages.
Note that comparative negligence is a separate concept from the theory of contribution between and among potentially responsible parties. Contribution among tortfeasors means that, when multiple parties are liable for the same injury, they can sue other responsible parties to contribute to the recovery amount.
Talk to Experienced Attorneys about Comparative Negligence in Florida Car Accident Cases
If you were injured in an auto collision and try to file a claim, you can be sure that the responsible party’s insurance company will try to pin some of the blame on you – thereby reducing your compensation under Florida comparative negligence law. Do not put your rights at risk. Contact Piccin & Glynn, Attorneys at Law right away by filling out our online contact form or by calling us at 352-581-6174. We can schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.