When most injury victims decide to take legal action against the negligent party that harmed them, they can usually expect to argue that defendant is 100% at fault and they themselves deserve 100% or any awarded relief. However, the circumstances of an accident are not always so cut-and-dry. Occasionally, there are multiple parties are fault—or the plaintiff themselves has somehow contributed to their own injury.
When this is the case, Florida's comparative fault law is applied. Comparative fault allows the courts to distribute fault across multiple parties. This fault, represented in percentages, can then subtract from each party's awarded compensation.
To demonstrate, let's look at an example of a theoretical multi-car pile-up. Each of the three drivers was hurt and a jury awards each of them $10,000. The jury also found, however, that numerous parties were at fault:
- Driver A was not found at fault - she receives $10,000
- Driver B was found to be 30% at fault - he receives $7,000
- Driver C was found to be 70% at fault - he receives $3,000
As you can see, for drivers B and C, their $10,000 award was reduced by their percentage of fault. Driver A, however, how was found to be not at all at fault, was able to recover the full $10,000.
"Pure" Comparative Fault
Unlike some states, Florida does not put a limit on who can receive compensation in these cases. That is because Florida uses a "pure" comparative fault model instead of a "modified" one. Modified comparative fault usually prevents parties who are primarily at fault from receiving money. Pure comparative fault does not.
You can see this above in the case of driver C. The accident was mostly his fault (70%) and yet he was still able to recover a small amount of money. While this is prohibited in other states, it is permitted in Florida and can lead to more contentious allegations in the courtroom.
That is why it is so important to have a proven and assertive Tampa personal injury lawyer by your side for your personal injury claim. At Taracks & Associates, we have the prowess both in and outside the courtroom to ensure that negligent parties are unable to deflect blame under our comparative fault system. Our firm is dedicated to holding those responsible for harmful accidents accountable for their actions and recovering the maximum amount of relief for those who have been hurt.
Get experienced and effective advocacy in your corner. Contact us at 813.990.0599 today.