Contributory and Comparative Negligence: Whose Fault is it?

In the United States, different kinds of systems are used to assess fault in accident cases. Contributory negligence calculates damages based on who was at fault. Only if the person injured contributed 0% to the accident can they recover any damages. If they can be found to be at least partially at fault (even a small amount), no damages can be recovered from the other negligent party. Currently, this method is only followed in five states.

Comparative negligence calculates damage also based on fault, except the person injured can receive damages even if they are partially to blame. With comparative negligence, the injured person’s damages may be reduced depending on the amount they contributed to the accident. In states like Florida that use this system, a judge or jury determines the amount of fault each party is responsible for.

Mediation can happen outside of a courtroom as well, when attorneys and clients meet to negotiate a settlement and agree upon responsibility. It is important to hire an experienced Sarasota car accident attorney to make sure that the process goes smoothly and you receive a judgment that covers all of your past and future medical expenses. At Pallegar Law, P.A., we know that the most important thing is that you get the help and medical care that you need.

Florida follows a system called pure comparative negligence. This means that each party is assessed for their amount of fault and receives a proportionate damage award. Even if the injured person was 99% responsible for their accident, they may still be entitled to 1% of damages from the other party. This system ensures that the defendant does not have to pay unnecessary damages and the plaintiff receives just compensation for their injuries.

Here’s an example. Person A makes an illegal turn and hits Person B, who was speeding through a yellow light. Person B sustained multiple injuries and takes legal action against Person A. It is determined that Person B will be awarded $50,000 for their injuries, but because they were speeding at the time of the accident they were determined to be partially at fault. Instead of $50,000, Person B is awarded $35,000 because they were found to be 30% at fault for the accident.

If more than one person is at fault for the accident, the injured person can file claims with multiple insurance companies. This is where hiring an experienced Sarasota car accident attorney is really integral to the recovery of damages. If you are partially at fault in the accident, we at Pallegar Law, P.A. will work with you to make sure damages are apportioned properly according to fault.

In order to assess the amount of fault each party is responsible for, it must be proven that either or both parties acted negligently.

This article outlines what to do after a car accident; this part is crucial to proving that either or both party is at fault. The defendant must prove that a codefendant, plaintiff, or other party was at least partially at fault, and is liable to pay a proportionate amount of damages. Make sure that you take photos, have witnesses, and write down exactly what happened in the accident.

If you were in an accident, no matter who was at fault, contact a knowledgeable Sarasota car accident attorney who can help you explore your options, recover damages, and assess fault. Call Pallegar Law, P.A. at 941-893-5816.

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