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What is Comparative Negligence in a Car Accident Case?

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Posted By Legal Team | December 14 2022 | Personal Injury

Vehicle accident claims can get complicated, particularly if there is more than one party at fault for the incident. However, when there are multiple parties at fault in a Florida car accident, the claim can get even more confusing as a result of Florida’s no-fault insurance system. Here, we want to examine when comparative negligence could become a factor in a car accident that occurs in Florida

Florida is a No-Fault State Concerning Vehicle Accidents

Florida is one of 12 states across the country that handles vehicle accidents with a no-fault insurance system. This means that every driver in Florida must carry personal injury protection (PIP) insurance that they will then turn to pay for their medical expenses and other accident-related costs, regardless of which party caused the collision. This type of insurance system also places limitations on when individuals can seek compensation from other parties involved in the accident.

Under the no-fault system in Florida, PIP insurance will pay for 80% of necessary and reasonable medical expenses resulting from the vehicle accident. This can include surgical procedures, hospitalization, dental work, emergency transportation, etc. PIP will also provide coverage of 60% of a person’s lost wages and loss of future earning capacity if they are unable to work due to their injuries.

When recovering compensation through the no-fault insurance system, individuals typically will not have to worry about comparative negligence.

Under the no-fault insurance system in Florida, individuals may be able to pursue compensation from the at-fault driver, either through the other driver’s liability insurance or through a personal injury lawsuit. In order to secure compensation from another party, the injury must pass the “serious injury threshold,” which means:

  • Significant or permanent loss of a bodily function
  • Permanent injury
  • Significant or permanent disfigurement or scarring
  • Death

Injuries that rise above these thresholds will not face limitations under the Florida no-fault insurance system. Individuals will have to approve the negligence of the other party in order to recover compensation.

In these situations, the comparative negligence system in Florida will matter. Florida follows a “pure comparative negligence” system, which means individuals can recover compensation regardless of their percentage of fault for the claim, but the total amount of compensation they recover will be reduced depending on that percentage of fault.

For example, let us suppose a person sustains $100,000 worth of damages, but they are found to be 20% responsible for causing the incident. They would receive $80,000 in damages instead of the full $100,000 to account for the 20% less using the pure comparative negligence system.

When an injury victim is able to file a lawsuit against another driver because their injuries rose above the “threshold,” they may have to use the pure comparative negligence system to determine how much compensation they receive. We strongly encourage all individuals who have been injured in a car accident to reach out to a skilled attorney who can help guide them toward the best steps moving forward.

A personal injury attorney in St. Petersburg can examine the situation and help clients recover compensation through an insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit against the other driver. An attorney will also help push back against any allegations of fault so that individuals can recover more compensation for their losses.

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