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Can I recover compensation if I contributed to the crash?

Under Florida law, you can recover compensation in a personal injury claim even if you partially contributed to the accident. The legal concept is known as comparative negligence, and it comes up often in car accident cases.

In a typical personal injury lawsuit involving a car accident, a court must decide what party was at fault for the crash. To do this, the court looks at the available evidence, including police reports and eyewitness testimony.

In some cases, it’s relatively easy to determine who was at fault. For instance, if Car 1 runs a stop sign and collides with Car 2, which had the right of way, then it’s pretty clear that the driver of Car 1 is at fault. If that driver was at fault for the crash, and the driver of Car 2 suffered damages as a result of the crash, then the driver of Car 2 may hold the driver of Car 1 liable for those damages.

In other cases, fault is less clear, and therefore liability is less clear. Imagine that in the example above, both drivers ran through stop signs. Both suffer damages. Can anyone be held liable?

Courts have struggled with this type of scenario for many years, and states have developed different ways of dealing with the problem. In Florida, courts typically calculate the total amount of damages of all the parties and then limit compensation according to each party’s percentage of fault.

For example, the court determines that Driver A is 25 percent at fault for an accident, while Driver B is 75 percent responsible. The sum of damages from the accident is $10,000. Therefore, Driver A is able to sue Driver B for damages, but Driver A’s damages will be reduced by 25 percent. At most, Driver A will be able to collect $2,500.

This blog post presents a simplified view of what is in reality a complex legal issue. To learn more about how comparative negligence might apply to the facts of your case, speak to a skilled personal injury attorney.