Assigning Blame in a Florida Car Wreck
It would be nice if car crashes and other personal injury accidents always had clear and singular causes. Oftentimes a Florida car wreck is the result of two or more factors and/or the actions of two or more individuals. It becomes incumbent, then, upon the trier of fact – either a judge or a jury – to determine what role each factor and/or each individual’s actions played in bringing the accident about.
Florida’s Comparative Negligence Law
Each state has different ways of handling the situation where the actions of the person filing the injury accident lawsuit also played a role in causing the accident. In some states, for example, an injury victim who is the primary cause of the accident is not able to recover any compensation at all. In other states, any amount of carelessness on the part of the injury victim (no matter how small or incidental) will operate to foreclose the victim from any recovery.
Florida is one of a few states that follows a pure comparative negligence scheme. Under this arrangement, an injury victim will be able to recover some amount of compensation for his or her injuries regardless of the amount of fault attributable to him or her. In theory, even if the victim is determined to be 99 percent responsible for causing the accident, the injury victim would still be able to recover something for his or her injuries. Whatever amount of damages the victim suffered would be reduced in proportion to the amount of fault attributable to the victim. So, for example, if the victim suffered $50,000 in damages but was determined to be 20 percent responsible for causing the accident, the victim would be entitled to recover a maximum of $40,000.
How are Percentages of Fault Determined?
While the operation of the comparative negligence statute is rather straightforward, the process of assigning a percentage of fault to each factor or each individual’s behavior in an accident is not easy. There is no universally-accepted way for assigning percentages; instead, judges and juries rely upon the presentation of evidence and testimony by the various attorneys involved in the case to help them decide who is primarily to blame for the crash. From there, judges and juries will tend to allocate percentages in a way that conforms with their general beliefs about who is primarily responsible.
The experienced and dedicated Clearwater car crash attorneys at Roman & Roman fight hard to uncover the truth about what or who caused your crash and will convey this information to the trier of fact in your case. When you bring a car crash lawsuit in Florida, Roman & Roman helps you obtain the maximum amount of compensation possible. Call Roman & Roman today at 877-767-1032, or contact the firm online to learn more.