Comparative negligence has been a hot topic among citizens and legal scholars in Florida. Their main concern is how liability should be apportioned between two entities who both acted negligently in causing one’s injuries or property damage. What if you were also negligent and as a result, you got injured? Note that legislators and legal scholars argue that these concerns ad each state has a different way of responding to them.
Legislatures throughout the U.S have adopted three major legal systems to apportion fault. Thus, whether or not you will be compensated for your damages will entirely depend on the state law. If you got injured while in Florida, seek the help of a competent personal injury lawyer for legal counsel. Here is everything you need to know about comparative negligence in Florida.
This was the first system of fault apportionment used in England and the United States. According to comparative fault theory, if a judge determines that you were in any way responsible for your injuries (negligence), you cannot recover any damages from the other party even if he was 99% responsible.
For instance, in Virginia, if you’re walking down the sidewalk and someone left the manhole cover open if you fall and get injured, then, you cannot pursue a personal injury claim. This is because the condition was generally ‘open’ and ‘obvious.’ The jury simply believes that if you had been careful, you would have seen the open manhole (danger) and avoided it. Over the years, legislators have come to realize the inherent injustice associated with comparative fault theory and things are changing gradually.
Pure comparative fault law
The Florida States follows a pure comparative fault system. According to this theory, your level of negligence or responsibility in the event that caused your injuries does not bar you from getting compensated even if your fault is bigger than the defendant’s.
The law requires that the contributory fault you are charged for reduces your compensation for both economic and non-economic damages for property loss or injuries associated with your contributory fault. But it doesn’t prevent you from getting compensated.
Modified comparative fault
Not all legislators consented that a pure comparative fault system was fair. This is the main reason most states adopted a modified comparative fault theory. According to this theory, you can only pursue a personal injury claim successfully if you were less than 50% or 51% responsible for your injuries.
Joint and several liability
Whenever three or more people are believed to have contributed to an event that resulted in property damage or injuries, the primary concern is who you should recover compensation from and what amount of compensation. To solve this, Florida State has abolished the so-called ‘joint and several’ liability. This is an old law that allowed a victim of an accident caused by many people to choose who should compensate for the damages.
The bottom line is, Florida is a pure comparative fault state. That means even if you were partially at fault for an accident that caused your injuries, that does not prevent you from pursuing a claim.