Comparative Fault in Florida

In the simplest of circumstances, when an injury claim is brought to civil court, a single responsible party is identified, found negligent, and ordered to pay compensation to the victims. The simplest circumstances, however, are rarely a reality in the personal injury arena, and Florida law has a system to assigning negligence when the details of a claim are more complicated.

Comparative fault is a principle that allows negligence to be assigned to multiple parties when an accident has occurred-- including the accident victim. This is particularly prevalent in the case of auto accidents, when multiple drivers may be involved and complex, chain reactions on the road need to be parsed in the courtroom.

Comparative fault works by determining a percentage of fault for each of the involved parties in an accident. To demonstrate, let's look at an example involving an auto accident:

  • A jury determines that $100,000 should be awarded to the accident victims
  • They find that driver A was 70% at fault
  • They find that driver B was 30% at fault

In this example, driver B would be awarded $70,000. This is because their contributing negligence to the accident, 30%, would be subtracted from their total allowable compensation.

What Comparative Fault Means for Your Claim

Comparative fault can be a double-edged sword. On one hand, it allows victims to pursue compensation even if they partially contributed to the accident that injured them. In other states, this would bar a plaintiff from receiving money, so comparative fault is much more flexible and permissive it terms of allowing injured parties to pursue and receive restitution.

However comparative fault means that defendants have the opportunity to assign fault to the injured party. To ensure that this tactic is not used to exaggerate your degree of negligence—and diminish the compensation you can receive—aggressive and thorough counsel is needed to helm your claim and assert the circumstances of your accident.

That is why your choice of counsel is so critical for your personal injury claim. At Smith & Stallworth, Attorneys at Law, our Tampa personal injury attorneys have more than 30 years of combined legal experience. In that time, they have helped countless victims and their loved ones fight for the relief they deserve and assist them with putting their injury ordeal behind them.

Put your claim in trusted hands. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.