The state of Florida adheres to the comparative negligence law. That is to say that if you are found to be at all negligent in a car accident but less than 50%, your settlement amount will be reduced by that percentage. This is why it is vital that negligence is proven after a car accident, hopefully in a way that shows you did nothing wrong.
Florida adopted the standard of comparative negligence in 1973. The reasoning behind the adoption is that car accidents are not black and white, nor do they operate in a vacuum. In many cases, car accidents are caused by negligence on the part of several parties and not just one. Lawmakers did not believe it to be fair that a single party was held responsible for paying damages when they did not hold 100 percent of the blame.
A victim in a car accident can establish negligence when they meet these three conditions:
Proving blame after a car accident can be difficult. It is not unusual for police to arrive on scene and receive multiple accounts of the accident. Police will take photographs and video evidence and may even make measurements of skid marks and other apparent evidence in order to prove fault. They will also rely on your account of the accident as well as the other driver’s account. Police may take witness statements if any witnesses remain on scene until the police arrive.
Determining negligence often occurs after one or more party’s have been found at fault. Determining fault will typically be up to the insurance companies. The agents of the insurance companies will rely on the police report and reports from claims adjusters. Here is a bit more about how fault is determined.
Once you have contacted an insurance company, they will assign a claims adjuster to your case. It will be the adjuster’s job to determine fault after reviewing all available evidence in the incident. They will look at police reports, witness testimony and medical reports.
If a claims adjuster attempts to speak with you, be very careful what you say. You don’t have to provide any type of statement to an adjuster, though they may pressure you to do so. You should always consult with an attorney before you speak with an adjuster about the accident.
No-doubt liability refers to accidents that are almost always the fault of the other driver. These include rear-end collisions, left-turn accidents and DUI accidents.
1. Rear-end collisions are very rarely the fault of the driver who has been hit. Unless you failed to signal or your brake lights weren’t working, you have little in the way of negligence in this type of accident. Regardless of your non-working lights, a driver who hits you in the rear-end was likely following too closely or distracted while driving.
2. Left-turn accidents are almost always the fault of the driver who turned left in front of you unless they can prove that you were speeding or ran a red light.
3. DUI crashes are almost always the fault of the person who chose to become intoxicated and then get behind the wheel of their vehicle. The person who is driving while intoxicated may have made a reckless maneuver or may have failed to operate their vehicle in a manner appropriate for road conditions. No matter the reason, when an intoxicated person caused a car accident, they are nearly always deemed to be solely at fault.
If you are involved in a car accident, the first thing to do is to seek medical attention for your injuries. Once you have been seen and treated by a medical professional, you can worry about the next steps. One of those next steps will be to contact an experienced car accident attorney for a consultation. Because most personal injury lawyers work on a contingency basis, you have nothing to lose by at least seeking their advice.
When you are involved in a car accident in Port St. Lucie, we are here for you and your family. We understand the physical and emotional pain you are going through and we are here to assist you in any way we can. Reach out to our team today to schedule an appointment for a free case evaluation. We will discuss your accident with you and advise you of the appropriate next steps. You are under no obligation to hire our firm after we have spoken. Call today to schedule your consultation or browse our website for more information about our firm and the types of cases we handle.