what is comparative negligence

Comparative Negligence Explained: If I’m Partially at Fault, Can I Still Sue?

RRBHLAWZENInsurance Litigation

Have you found yourself in a situation where you believe you are partially at fault for an accident? For example, you were speeding or texting while driving, resulting in a collision. It’s natural to wonder what is comparative negligence and if you still have the right to sue for damages. The good news is that you can still pursue legal action, but you must be aware of comparative negligence laws. In this blog, we will delve into what comparative negligence is, how an attorney can help establish it, and the damages you can seek in your personal injury claim.

What Is Comparative Negligence?

Personal injury accidents can happen at any time, leaving individuals with physical, emotional, and financial damages. But what happens when the injured party is partially at fault for the accident? Can they still sue for damages? In Florida, the answer is yes, thanks to the concept of comparative negligence.

Comparative negligence is a legal principle determining the percentage of fault for each party involved in an accident. This principle is used to assess liability and determine the amount of damages a plaintiff can recover. For example, if you are injured in an accident, your recovery can be reduced by the percentage of fault attributed to you.

There are two types of comparative negligence: pure and partial. Under pure comparative negligence, the plaintiff can still recover damages even if their negligence contributed to the accident. For instance, if the plaintiff suffered $100,000 worth of damages, but their negligence contributed to 90% of their injuries, they would be allowed to collect $10,000.

On the other hand, partial comparative negligence is applied in most jurisdictions and bars recovery if the plaintiff’s negligence exceeds a certain threshold. In some states, the plaintiff is denied recovery if their negligence is equal to or greater than the defendant’s. For instance, if the plaintiff is found to be 50% responsible for their injuries or more, they will be completely barred from recovery. However, if the plaintiff’s negligence is less than 50%, they will be entitled to recover that percentage of the damages.

For example, suppose a plaintiff suffers $100,000 worth of injury, and the jury finds that the defendant was 80% at fault and the plaintiff was 20% at fault. In that case, the plaintiff would recover $80,000 of their damages. The percentage of fault is critical in any negotiation and can be a significant point of contention in a personal injury claim.

How an Attorney Can Help Prove Comparative Negligence for Your Personal Injury Claim

Navigating the legal complexities of comparative negligence can be challenging, especially when dealing with an accident’s physical, emotional, and financial aftermath. However, an experienced personal injury attorney can help you establish the percentage of fault and determine the amount of damages you’re entitled to recover.

To prove comparative negligence, your attorney will gather evidence, interview witnesses, and work with experts to reconstruct the accident. They will use this evidence to demonstrate that the other party was at least partially responsible for the accident and that your injuries directly resulted from their negligence.

Your attorney will also help you avoid common mistakes that could reduce damages. For instance, insurance adjusters may attempt to get you to admit fault or downplay the severity of your injuries. Your attorney will help you avoid these pitfalls and ensure that you receive the full compensation you’re entitled to under the law.

Damages to Seek in Your Personal Injury Claim

If you are injured in an accident where you are partially at fault, you can still seek damages for your injuries. Damages include medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and property damage. However, your damages will be reduced by your percentage of fault.

Medical Expenses

Medical expenses can be a significant cost after an accident. You may be able to recover the cost of ambulance rides, hospital stays, surgery, and medication. Those costs may also be recoverable if you require ongoing medical treatment, such as physical therapy or rehabilitation.

Lost Wages

Lost wages can also be a significant expense after an accident. If you are unable to work due to your injuries, you may be able to recover the wages you would have earned if you had not been injured. If your injuries are severe, and you cannot return to work, you may be able to recover future lost wages as well.

Pain & Suffering

Pain and suffering damages can be more challenging to calculate but are often a significant part of a personal injury claim. These damages can include physical pain, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life. An attorney can help you determine the appropriate damages to seek for pain and suffering.

Property Damage

Finally, if your property was damaged in the accident, you can seek damages for repairs or replacement. This can include damage to your car, personal belongings, or other property.

It’s essential to keep in mind that damages in a personal injury claim are meant to compensate you for your losses. Therefore, your damages will be reduced by your percentage of fault, so it’s crucial to work with an attorney to establish the appropriate amount of fault.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, understanding what is comparative negligence and how it can impact your personal injury claim is crucial. If you have been injured in an accident, it’s important to seek the assistance of an experienced personal injury attorney who can help you navigate the complexities of comparative negligence and fight for the compensation you deserve. Remember always to document the details of the accident and seek medical attention as soon as possible. 

By taking these steps and working with a skilled attorney, you can maximize your chances of receiving a fair and just settlement for your injuries. If you have been injured in an accident, don’t hesitate to contact our attorneys at RRBH Law at  (305) 800-4663  to explore your options for recovering damages.