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How does your share of fault in a crash affect your compensation?

On Behalf of | Feb 9, 2024 | Auto Accidents

Not every car crash is the fault of one driver. In fact, many of them involve some type of negligence on the part of both (or multiple) people or other parties.

While it may seem like the crash in which you were injured was completely the other driver’s fault (and maybe it was), their insurer will look for ways to put some of the fault on you in order to reduce the amount of compensation they have to pay. Even if they struck you, the other party can say that you were speeding (even if only a bit), not looking both ways or in back of you or following too closely.

Why percentage of fault matters

All states have some type of rule that determines whether and how much a victim’s own negligence played a role in their injuries. Florida uses the “modified comparative negligence” rule. It’s also called the “51% rule.”

Under that rule, if one party is at least 51% at fault, they aren’t allowed to recover any compensation for damages. The amount of compensation they have to pay, however, can be reduced by whatever percentage of fault the other party bears. Florida law states that “contributory fault chargeable to the claimant diminishes proportionately the amount awarded as economic and noneconomic damages for an injury attributable to the claimant’s contributory fault….”

That means if you’re determined to be 25% at fault and other party is 75% at fault, the economic damages you’re determined to be owed would be decreased by 25%. That can make a big difference in how much compensation you can receive if your claim is for a substantial amount of money.

Determining percentage of fault

You can see why it’s crucial to ensure that the details of the crash (or other incident) are clear. Fortunately, there’s a lot of technology available to help. Everything from software in the vehicles to surveillance cameras in the area can add solid evidence to witness statements and police reports.

Finding and using this evidence effectively to maximize your claim requires experienced legal guidance. It’s wise to take advantage of that guidance as soon as possible.