Apportionment Of Fault And A Plaintiff’s Recovery
Car accidents involving multiple vehicles may be more complicated to sort out than those involving just one or two cars. If one of the parties involved in the accident decides to seek compensation from the courts, he or she may wonder which of the other parties would be responsible for paying any judgment ordered by the court.
In Florida, a judge or jury making a determination on a personal injury case resulting from a car accident looks at the facts and determines which party is at fault. In making this finding, the fault is apportioned to each party by percentages. Each defendant is then responsible or liable for his or her own percentage of the damages awarded. If a defendant thinks that another party is at fault, and that party has not been sued by the plaintiff, the defendant can present evidence to show the court that the other party should also be judged to be at fault.
For example, driver A is injured in a car accident caused by driver B, driver C and driver D, and suffers damages worth $100,000. If driver A sues all other drivers and recovers the full $100,000, she can only recover from each driver in the percentage each driver is found to be at fault. If the judge or jury finds the drivers to be at fault as follows: driver B – 30 percent, driver C – 50 percent, and driver D – 20 percent, each driver will only be responsible for the damages as follows: driver B – $30,000, driver C – $50,000, and driver D – $20,000.
Under Florida’s previous system, defendants were liable for damages jointly and severally. This meant that after a plaintiff was awarded a judgment, he or she could seek to collect it from all defendants, or from just one defendant. The defendant who paid the entire judgment could seek reimbursement from other defendants. The Florida legislature changed this by passing a law requiring the defendants to pay any awarded damages according to their percentage of fault as determined by the court. While this method may have advantages for defendants, it can leave the plaintiff in a bad situation where he or she cannot recover the full compensation owed from one or all defendants if they cannot pay their portions of the judgment.
The injured person seeking compensation through the court should also keep in mind that his or her own conduct will be reviewed to determine his or her role in the accident. If the court finds the plaintiff was at fault to some degree, the plaintiff’s recovery is reduced by that degree, but the plaintiff can still recover in the percentage of fault attributed to the defendants.
Contact A Clearwater Auto Accident Attorney
If you or a loved one was involved in an automobile accident in Clearwater, you should consult an experienced automobile accident attorney. Before you settle with an insurance company, you should learn what options you may have to recover for your injuries. Contact the experienced automobile accident attorneys at Roman & Roman, P.A. for a consultation today.