There are many unique aspects of Florida personal injury law that sets it apart from other states, including its status as a no-fault state. However, Florida’s pure comparative fault laws often confuse accident victims, a common reason to hire a personal injury law firm in the first place. Tampa auto accident lawyers are often asked about comparative fault, which can complicate a victim’s case.
So what does “pure comparative fault” mean in the context of Florida personal injury laws? And how does this system compare to other states?
What Is Pure Comparative Fault?
In a pure comparative fault system, the amount of damages a plaintiff can recover is offset if he or she is partially at fault for the accident. In short, multiple parties — including the victim — can share legal responsibility, or negligence, and their degree of responsibility will affect how much they can recover in damages.
Every year up to 3 million people are injured in auto accidents, and many of these crashes cause severe financial, personal, and medical hardship for accident victims. Some personal injury cases are straightforward, with clear lines between defendants and victims. A drunk driver who injures a pedestrian may be clearly at fault, and a Tampa auto accident lawyer can help the victim file a civil lawsuit to recover damages. However, in many car accidents a number of parties share fault. In addition, the accident victim may also share a portion of the blame.
For instance, if someone is injured by a defective product, the product’s manufacturer may be responsible. However, if the victim was misusing the product and ignoring safety warnings, he or she may also share a degree of fault.
Florida is a pure comparative fault state. In fact, even if the victim was 99% responsible for the accident, they may still be able to recover damages. Because these issues can be difficult to understand, let alone prove in a court of law, many victims will hire a personal injury law firm to represent them. After being injured in a car accident in Florida with multiple parties at fault, it may be beneficial to hire Tampa auto accident lawyers.
Are There Other Forms of Comparative Fault?
Other states have different systems for assigning negligence to accident victims. While states like Florida, California, and Louisiana offset the plaintiff’s damages according to his or her share of the fault, other states have much harsher systems:
- Pure Contributory Negligence: States like Virginia have Pure Contributory Negligence systems. That means if the plaintiff is at fault, to any degree, they will be unable to recover damages at all.
- Modified Comparative Fault (50% bar): States like Georgia have a Modified Comparative Fault system, wherein the defendant’s liability is reduced by the plaintiff’s percentage of fault. However, if the plaintiff is more than 50% at fault, they cannot recover damages.
If you’ve been in a car accident and are struggling to understand Florida’s pure comparative fault system, then it may be in your best interest to speak to Tampa auto accident lawyers. These issues are complex, yet they can be critical to the success or failure of your civil lawsuit.
For more information on Florida personal injury cases wherein the victim shares a portion of the blame, contact our Tampa personal injury law firm for a consultation.