Comparative Negligence Laws in Florida
There are 2 types of negligence laws seen throughout the United States - comparative negligence and contributory negligence. Each state follows a form of one of the 2 laws, and Florida is known as a pure comparative negligence state. When you file a personal injury claim, a St. Petersburg injury lawyer can help explain what the comparative negligence laws in Florida mean to your case.
Contributory Negligence Laws
Only a handful of states follow the contributory negligence laws: Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Alabama and Washington D.C. This is because the laws link back to English rule that when a person claimed injury because of another's negligence, they must have been completely innocent in causing the accident.
In modern times, this basic rule for complete fault on the defending party remains. The party you file the claim against must be found to be 100% at fault for the accident for you to claim damages in a contributory negligence state. This means you cannot have contributed to the cause of the accident and your injuries in any way; even a 1% fault will end your chances of recovering compensation.
Comparative Negligence Laws
The more common comparative negligence laws come in 3 versions: pure, modified 50% fault, and modified 51% fault. Modified fault means that a party may be found to be up to a certain percent at fault before their case is dismissed. In the 12 states that follow the 50% fault rule, the injured party may be found up to 49% at fault and still recover damages. In the 21 states with the 51% rule, the injured party may be up to 50% at fault for the accident to still claim half the damages in the settlement.
Florida is one of the 13 states with a pure comparative negligence rule. This allows for the injured party bringing the claim to be up to 99% at fault for their injuries and still recover 1% of the settlement. In cases where the injured party is largely to blame for the accident, obtaining a settlement may be difficult without the help of a St. Petersburg injury lawyer.
Proving Fault for Comparative Negligence Claims
Your settlement in a personal injury claim where comparative negligence law is used will rely on the degree of fault assigned to you. Proving fault is no easy task - you will need well-presented evidence to show that the other party was largely responsible for the accident and your injuries. An experienced St. Petersburg injury lawyer will assist you in this task.
The more evidence you have to show that you were not at fault for the accident, the lower your degree of fault will be. Your St. Petersburg injury lawyer can explain past cases similar to yours and how they obtained settlement. Depending on your degree of fault, your settlement amount will be reduced according to that percentile.
Contacting a St. Petersburg Injury Lawyer
When you are faced with medical bills, lost income and suffering after a serious injury, you don't need to worry alone. The Law Offices of William K. Saron, P.A. offers clients a complimentary copy of our book, Your Guide to Accident Claims in Florida: Don't Wreck Your Injury Case. For personal attention to your accident claim and the needs of you and your family, contact us at 727-345-4566 or 866-836-4947.