Comparative Negligence: When a Car Crash Isn’t All Your Fault
In many circumstances, the fault for an accident lies with more than one person. Florida law allows recovery for injuries based upon each person’s share of fault. And no, it is not determined by the law enforcement officer’s opinion; it is determined through a much more thorough investigation conducted by the plaintiff’s attorney. At Fasig Brooks, we start investigating your case the day you call, before evidence and witnesses disappear.
A common scenario we see is when there is an accident and either no witnesses or conflicting witnesses. Typically, there is damage to both cars and people are injured. Both drivers dispute liability and the officer issues no one a ticket- or may even cite the wrong driver. That is not determinative or even relevant in a civil case for personal injury.
Evidence is what determines apportionment of fault, not opinion. Our experts and investigators conduct thorough examinations of the vehicles, the roadway, and the witnesses. We preserve testimony and memories while they’re fresh. In many cases, our investigation requires obtaining and analyzing the vehicles’ “black boxes” and hiring experts to conduct biomechanical analyses and accident reconstruction. Only after a thorough examination of all the evidence can fault be established.
In a situation where both drivers had some degree of fault, each is responsible only for his or her share of damage. For example, if our client (the plaintiff) incurred $100,000 in medical bills to treat injuries caused by the accident, and is 30% at fault for the accident, he would only be responsible for 30% ($30,000) of his medical bills. The defendant (actually, his insurance company) would be responsible for 70% ($70,000) of those bills. Plainly: a plaintiff is only responsible for the portion of his injuries he caused.
If you have been injured in accident on the roads, don’t just accept someone else’s word that you have no rights or options. Don’t think that just because you, too, had some degree of negligence, that it is a complete bar to any recovery. Call Fasig Brooks and speak to one of our nine attorneys who fight insurance companies and big businesses on behalf of injured people every day.It’s not right for you to have to pay the full freight on injuries you did not fully cause. Know your rights. Call us today.