Understanding Florida’s New Comparative Fault Law: What You Need to Know

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Who is at fault in a car accident? It’s not always a simple question. Sometimes accidents can result from mistakes by more than one driver. For people involved in car accidents in Florida, understanding the Comparative Negligence law and its implications is crucial for navigating legal proceedings effectively.

For 50 years, from 1973 to 2023, Florida law followed the concept of “pure comparative fault.” In pure comparative fault jurisdictions, if a person injured in an automobile accident is partially at fault, their recovery is reduced by the proportion of fault they bear for the accident. For example, if a jury found that the injured person was 25% at fault for the accident and the other driver was 75% at fault, the injured person’s recovery was reduced by 25% (but they still recovered 75% of their losses). The proportion of fault assigned by the jury can range from 0% to 100% for either driver.

In 2023, the Florida legislature passed a new law, Fla. Stat. sec. 768.81(6), which changed Florida to a “modified comparative fault” jurisdiction, significantly impacting personal injury cases throughout the state. Since this new statute went into effect, a person found to be more than 50% at fault for the accident cannot recover any damages at all. Whereas a person found to be 51% at fault used to be able to recover 49% of their damages, now they may not recover anything. The defendant driver is now able to avoid any responsibility for the accident in that case.

Florida now has several new laws that have a large impact on how negligence cases are handled. Navigating this new legal landscape requires a thorough understanding of the law and the events leading to the accident. Attorneys must carefully gather evidence to support the plaintiff’s case while preemptively addressing any attempts by the insurance company and defense lawyer to shift blame onto the injured party. It is essential for plaintiffs to have skilled legal representation capable of building a robust case and countering any attempts to discredit their claims.

With over 40 years of combined experience handling personal injury cases, the attorneys at Phil Hall, P.A. are well positioned to provide the best service to their clients and ensure fair outcomes. From conducting thorough investigations and gathering compelling evidence, to leveraging negotiation tactics and, if necessary, litigating aggressively in court, we stand ready to help. If you are looking for a car accident attorney who listens, give us a call.

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