Protecting the Rights
of Injury Victims

Thomas DeLattre and Glen D. Wieland

Why you can still get car accident compensation even if you are partly at fault

On Behalf of | Oct 4, 2022 | Auto Accident |

One thing that might keep you from fighting for maximum compensation after a major auto accident is that you suspect you contributed to the crash. You might have heard that unless the other driver is 100 percent to blame for what happened, you cannot sue for personal injury in Florida.

That might have been true a long time ago. There was a time when a plaintiff who contributed even slightly to a car accident was legally barred from financial compensation for their medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering and other damages. But for decades, Florida has followed the contributory fault rule, a much more realistic and fair way of handling such cases.

The math of contributory negligence

Here’s how contributory fault (also known as contributory negligence) works: Say you get injured in a car wreck and sue the other driver. The case goes to trial, and the jury finds that you sustained $100,000 in damages. The jury also concludes that the defendant was 80 percent at fault for the crash and you were 20 percent responsible. You would receive $80,000 in damages, or $100,000 minus 20 percent.

A real-world rule

This rule reflects the fact that, in the real world, multiple people can play a role in a car accident. That should not prevent the person or business that is primarily at fault from being held responsible for their actions. As long as you are less than 50 percent liable for your own injuries, you can recover compensation.

Figuring out how close you are to the 50 percent line can be complicated without experienced legal guidance. Going over what happened with a personal injury attorney can give you a clearer picture of what to expect.

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