Comparative negligence is a rule of law applied to accident cases in order to determine responsibility for and damages based on the level of negligence of each party directly involved in the collision. Most auto accident cases are complex and it can be difficult to figure out, attribute and compare negligence. If you have been injured in a Florida auto accident, it is crucial that you consult with an experienced car crash lawyer.
Florida Comparative Negligence
Florida follows a pure comparative negligence system. A judge or jury will assign a percentage of fault to each party responsible for the collision and then apportion the damage award accordingly.
Through this system, an injury victim may be able to recover some damages, even if they were partially at fault in causing the injury. For example, if it is determined that a driver was 99 percent at fault for a crash, the other driver would be responsible for paying one percent of their damages.
Currently, there are only 13 states that practice pure comparative negligence, including:
- New Mexico
- New York
- Rhode Island
- South Dakota
Other Types of Comparative Negligence
In addition to pure comparative, there are two other types of comparative negligence: modified comparative negligence – 51 percent rule, and modified comparative negligence – 50 percent rule.
Similar to a pure comparative negligence system, a judge or jury determines the percentage of fault to each party responsible in the crash and then apportions the damage award accordingly. In these types of systems, however, if an accident victim’s percentage of fault reaches a certain level, he or she may be completely prohibited from recovering any damages.
Twelve states follow a 50 percent rule. In these states, an injury victim is only able to recover losses if it is determined that their fault in causing the accident is 49 percent or less. If it is determined that their percentage of fault is 50 percent or more, they are ineligible to collect compensation. The following states practice the 50 percent rule:
- North Dakota
- West Virginia
Twenty-one states follow the 51 percent rule. This means that an injury victim can only recover compensation if it is determined that their fault does not reach 51 percent; they must be 50 percent or less at fault for the crash. As in pure comparative negligence states, like Florida, a victim’s damage award is reduced by the degree of his or her fault. The states that practice the 51 percent rule include:
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- South Carolina
Contact an Experienced Palm Beach Auto Accident Attorney
At Gordon & Doner, we believe that if you have been injured by the actions or negligence of another driver, you deserve both compassion and compensation for your condition. Our team of attorneys has the knowledge and experience necessary to skillfully litigate a Florida auto accident claim.
We offer free case evaluations to anyone who believes that they may have cause to file an auto accident injury claim. During an evaluation, one of our attorneys will assess the merits of your claim and offer guidance on how to best pursue legal recourse for your losses.