One important concept that plays a role in many personal injury cases is Florida’s adoption of the law of comparative negligence. Florida Statute 768.81(2) basically states that any fault attributable to the injured person reduces the amount of their award of damages proportionately to their amount of fault for the injuries. This means that if it is determined that an injured person was 50% at fault for the accident that caused them injuries, any amount of damages they recover from the other party will be reduced by 50%. This is because the law of comparative negligence says that you can’t recover for that percentage of your injuries that can be attributed to you as your own fault for the accident. A jury will ultimately decide the issue of comparative negligence in cases that go to trial.
While this concept applies to all types of personal injury cases, it is commonly brought up in car accident cases in Florida. If you are injured in an accident and seek damages against the at fault driver, you may find that the other driver’s insurance company only offers to pay a percentage of your damages. This is true even if the other driver received the ticket. This tactic is used by insurance companies to avoid paying out the full amount of damages caused by their insured. If an insurance company can place any percentage of fault for an accident on someone other than their insured, it can save them money.
It is important to discuss the issues of fault and comparative negligence with an experienced personal injury attorney as these concepts can affect who pays for your damages and how much they pay. It is also important to be very careful when speaking to an adjuster or an attorney for an insurance company about your accident. They may try to get you to make admissions regarding things you were doing at the time of the accident and what you could have done to avoid the accident. They will then most likely try to use those statements against you and assign some percentage of fault to you for the accident.