Understanding Comparative Negligence in Auto Accidents
Many auto accidents in Florida are caused by more than one person — a shared fault accident that is looked at under the concept of comparative negligence in the legal system. If it is found that you are partially at fault for your own injuries – whether it is because you were hit from behind, in part, because your tail lights were out, or you collided with another car while you were speeding, etc. – it can affect the amount of compensation you receive.
How Does This Work?
Every driver in Florida is expected to exercise reasonable care, which basically means driving in a safe and prudent manner, according to the Florida traffic and safety laws and current driving conditions. If a driver fails to meet this duty, they could be found negligent and liable for a personal injury claim by the injured party.
Auto accidents in Florida are typically investigated by the police, insurance adjusters, investigators, and any attorneys involved. If you file a lawsuit against someone who you believe caused your injuries, that person then has a chance to respond to these allegations. In this response, they can claim that you contributed to your own injury and, as a result, they should not be found 100% responsible for your injury.
What does this look like in terms of compensation? If your injuries are found to be worth $100,000, for example, but you are found to be 25% at fault for the incident that gave rise to those injuries, you could only recover 75% of $100,000, or $75,000.
What Do I Do If I Just Got In An Accident?
Your first obligations are to make sure you are safe. Report the accident to the police and seek any medical treatment that you may need. We recommend that you speak with an attorney prior to speaking with the other driver’s insurance company to make sure that you are not denied any compensation that you are due. In your state of shock, you do not want to end up in a negotiation aimed at reducing or preventing being compensated. Fortunately, Florida abides by a no-fault system when it comes to insurance policies, which means that your insurance company will cover medical expenses and lost income, regardless of fault.
Time Limits in Filing a Claim
Florida has a statute of limitations, limiting how long you have to file a claim after the accident. You have four years from the date of the accident to file against a private party and three years to file against a city, county, or state government. The only exception is if your injuries from the incident did not manifest and/or you did not discover those injuries within that timeframe. In that instance, the court can grant you more time to file your claim.
Contact a Florida Personal Injury Attorney
If you or a loved one has been involved in a pedestrian accident, a St. Petersburg pedestrian accident attorney can help you recover damages. The pedestrian accident law firm of Mike Walker Law has extensive experience helping victims recover compensation for their injuries. Contact us today for a free consultation to find out how our Florida pedestrian accident attorney can help you.