Can The Other Driver Use My Negligence Against Me?
In Florida, if you sustain injuries in a car accident due to another driver’s negligence, the negligent driver is required to compensate you for your injuries and damages. But what if you also did something that contributed to your accident? For example, what if you were responding to an email and did not notice the other driver was speeding? In such a case, can the other driver use your distracted driving against you to prevent you from recovering compensation in your accident claim?
If this scenario occurred some decades ago and you tried to recover compensation from the other driver, you would not have been able to recover any compensation because Florida had something called contributory negligence, which most states also had. Today, Florida has what is called comparative negligence. Read on to learn more.
The Change to the Negligence Laws Governing Personal Injury Cases in Florida
Decades ago, most states in the United States of America, including Florida, followed a system called contributory negligence. With contributory negligence, it used to be that if a plaintiff in a personal injury claim were partially at fault for the harm suffered, the other party who was also to blame for the harm would not be held liable. Contributory negligence barred plaintiffs from recovering compensation for another party’s negligence if they were even slightly negligent in causing the harm. Under the contributory negligence rule, even if you were only 1% responsible for the harm suffered, you would be unable to recover any compensation.
Thankfully, Florida and most other states in the United States no longer use the contributory negligence system. States stopped using the contributory negligence system because this system is harsh to accident victims. States realized that rarely is one person 100% to blame for an accident. Today, the contributory negligence system only applies in Virginia, Alabama, North Carolina, and Maryland.
Florida’s Comparative Negligence Rule
Florida now uses a system called comparative negligence. This system reduces the amount of damages a plaintiff recovers in a personal injury claim according to the degree of negligence they contributed to the accident. If you are also to blame for your Florida car accident, the other driver cannot use your negligence against you to prevent you from recovering compensation, regardless of your percentage of fault. However, this is not the case in all the other states that use the comparative negligence system.
Florida uses the pure comparative negligence rule that allows plaintiffs in personal injury claims to recover compensation even if they were 99% to blame for their accident. If you were 99% at fault, you have the right to recover for the 1% you were not at fault. Under the other type of comparative negligence, which is modified comparative negligence, a victim may not recover damages if they are found to be 50% or more or 51% or more (depending on the state) at fault. Most states in the United States have modified comparative negligence laws.
Contact a Key West & Marathon Car Accident Lawyer
At Florida Keys Injury, our qualified and dedicated Key West & Marathon car accident lawyers can help you recover compensation for the harm you suffered in your Florida car accident, even if you are also at fault. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.