Florida’s Comparative Negligence Law : What You Need to Know in 2023


What is comparative negligence?

Florida’s Comparative Negligence Law has undergone significant changes, and it’s important to understand these if you’ve been injured in an accident due to someone else’s negligence. Under the revised law, the compensation you can receive for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages is now determined by the extent of your own fault in the accident. If you are found to be partially responsible for the incident, your compensation will be reduced by a percentage equal to your share of the blame. This means that even if another party is predominantly at fault, your contribution to the accident will directly impact the amount you can recover. It’s essential for anyone seeking damages in Florida to comprehend this shift in law, as it can significantly affect the outcome of your claim. Understanding and navigating this law can be complex, so consulting with a legal professional who is well-versed in Florida’s comparative negligence statute is advisable for anyone involved in such a legal matter in 2023.

Comparative negligence is a crucial legal concept that plays a significant role in personal injury claims and lawsuits. It revolves around the idea that in an accident where multiple parties are at fault, the financial responsibility for the damages should be distributed according to each party’s level of fault. This principle is particularly relevant in situations where it’s not clear-cut who was entirely responsible for the incident.

For instance, consider a scenario where an accident occurs and you are found to be 25% at fault, while the other party carries 75% of the blame. Under the comparative negligence doctrine, your ability to recover damages is adjusted to reflect your share of the fault. In this example, you would be eligible to recover only 75% of the total damages, acknowledging that your actions contributed to a quarter of the fault in the accident.

The underlying rationale behind comparative negligence is fairness and accountability. It ensures that each party bears the financial consequences proportional to their responsibility in causing the accident. This approach seeks to avoid scenarios where a party with minor negligence is unfairly burdened with the entire cost of damages, while a more negligent party escapes financial responsibility.

The application of comparative negligence varies across different states in the U.S. Some states adhere to the “pure comparative negligence” rule, allowing individuals to recover damages even if they are predominantly at fault, though their recovery is diminished in proportion to their fault. In contrast, other states follow the “modified comparative negligence” rule. This variation sets a threshold (commonly 50% or 51%) for fault; if you are found to be more at fault than this threshold, you are barred from recovering any damages.

Understanding the nuances of comparative negligence and how it applies in your state is vital for anyone involved in a legal dispute or claim following an accident. It’s a doctrine that requires careful consideration of the details of each party’s actions leading up to the incident and often necessitates the expertise of legal professionals to navigate its complexities.

What is the new comparative negligence rule in Florida?

Until March 24, 2023, Florida followed the pure comparative negligence rule, which allowed you to recover damages even if you were more at fault than the other party. For instance, if you were 60% at fault and the other party was 40% at fault, you could still recover 40% of your damages.

However, on March 24, 2023, Florida enacted a major tort reform bill that replaced the pure comparative negligence rule with the modified comparative negligence rule. Under this new rule, you can only recover damages if your percentage of fault is 50% or less. If you are more than 50% at fault, you are barred from any recovery. For example, if you are 51% at fault and the other party is 49% at fault, you cannot recover anything.

This new rule applies to all negligence actions that accrue after March 24, 2023. It does not apply to medical negligence actions. This new rule also shortens the statute of limitations for general negligence actions from four years to two years.

How does the new comparative negligence rule affect your personal injury claim?

The change from pure to modified comparative negligence will have a significant impact on your personal injury claim. It will make it more difficult for you to prove that the other party was more at fault than you. It will also reduce the amount of damages that you can recover if you are partially at fault. Therefore, it is crucial that you consult with an experienced personal injury attorney who can help you protect your rights and maximize your recovery.

At Bengal Law: Florida Car Accident Lawyers and Personal Injury Attorneys PLLC, we have the knowledge and skills to handle any type of personal injury case. We have decades of experience in personal injury law and we have settled millions of dollars for our clients. We are former insurance adjusters and insurance defense attorneys, so we know how to deal with the insurance companies and maximize your recovery. We also offer prompt and attentive communication, low volume and high-value practice, and free consultations.

Don’t let the new comparative negligence law limit your rights and options. Contact us today and let us help you get the compensation that you deserve.

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