When someone is involved in a car accident and they suffer a serious injury, they typically want the driver responsible to cover their losses – including medical bills, lost wages, and other economic or non-economic damages. However, before anyone files a car accident claim, they should be aware of the legal doctrine referred to as “comparative negligence” and how that may impact their claim.
What is Comparative Negligence?
If you have partially contributed to the cause of your accident in anyway, and you suffered harm, a jury or judge will take that into consideration and compare your negligence to that of the other party. This comparison process often results in a reduction of the amount of compensation you receive for damages, based on the comparative negligence determination.
For example, you are a pedestrian who was struck by a driver. Evidence indicates, however, that you were not walking in a designated crosswalk; instead, you were illegally crossing the street and, therefore, the driver was not looking for you. While you still have the right of way as a pedestrian, and the driver is at fault for hitting you, your actions contributed partially to your injuries. The judge or jury determining the case will then decide the amount of negligence you contributed. In this case, you may be considered 25 percent liable for your injuries; therefore, monetary damages would be reduced by 25 percent.
The Two Types of Comparative Negligence
In these instances, two types of comparative negligence can be applied to your injury case:
- Pure Comparative Negligence – This adds up the plaintiff’s damages and then reduces them to mirror their negligence percentage. For example, a plaintiff has $100,000 in damages, but the judge has determined that they are 50 percent negligence. Therefore, their damages would be reduced by 50 percent to $50,000.
- Modified/Partial Comparative Negligence – Not all states employ this comparative negligence calculation. When this is used, a plaintiff may be barred from any damages if they are 50 percent or more at fault for the accident.
Florida has been employing the pure comparative negligence standard since 1973. This is designed to limit how much compensation an injured person can receive if they are partially at fault for their injuries. Under Florida Statute 768.81, contributory fault diminishes the amount awarded for economic and non-economic damages.
Partially At Fault? Contact Hancock Injury Attorneys
If you are partially at fault or contributed in any way to your accident, your damages may be reduced under the pure comparative negligence standard. It is imperative that you speak to a personal injury attorney to assess your case and help determine how much at fault you may be. Hancock Injury Attorneys offer free, no obligation consultations, so call us today at 813-915-1110 or contact us online to schedule an appointment.