In a Florida car accident case where both drivers share some degree of fault, the state uses modified comparative negligence to determine compensation. This means that a driver’s compensation decreases according to the percentage of assigned fault in the accident. However, if an accident victim is deemed more than 50% at fault, they cannot recover damages.
An experienced auto accident lawyer at Kogan & DiSalvo could Interview witnesses collect evidence, and oversee crash scene investigation, among other actions, to ensure that your fault is correctly and fairly assessed. Contact us for a free consultation. We are aggressive and tenacious while pursuing justice for our clients.
How Modified Comparative Negligence Works
Modified comparative negligence holds each person accountable for their role in an accident. The idea is that people may reconsider frivolous lawsuits while also taking personal responsibility for their behavior behind the wheel of a car.
Whether it achieves these goals is debatable, but several other states have implemented this method of addressing negligence.
Consider the following example:
- Max and Katy are involved in a car accident. Max was speeding and ran a red light while Katy was texting and failed to see Max entering the intersection. After examining the evidence, the court determines that Max is 80% at fault for the accident, and Katy is 20% at fault. Max has sustained $100,000 in damages, while Katy has sustained $150,000.
- Under Florida’s modified comparative negligence standard, Max theoretically cannot recover compensation via a personal injury suit because he is more than 50% at fault. Katy can still recover compensation, although she will see a 20% decrease in her awarded amount. Theoretically, she would receive $120,000 in compensation (80% of $150,000).
Who Decides the At-Fault Driver in a Florida Crash?
Determining fault involves a thorough investigation by various parties, such as law enforcement, insurance companies, and legal representatives. Police officers at the scene will gather crucial evidence, take witness statements, and create a detailed accident report containing their assessment of fault.
Insurance adjusters will also conduct their own investigations by reviewing evidence, statements, and accident reports. Generally speaking, insurance companies identify the at-fault party.
Your auto accident attorney may perform further investigations. At Kogan & DiSalvo, we work hard to protect our client’s interests and hold the appropriate party accountable. A strong case presented by our team could also question or challenge assigned fault in court or settlement negotiations.
The Factors Insurance Companies Use to Determine Fault
Insurance companies use specific criteria to determine fault in a car accident case. It helps them establish each driver’s level of responsibility and ultimately decide how much compensation each party should receive–if any. The factors they use are as follows:
Traffic Laws and Regulations
One of the first things insurance adjusters look into is whether the drivers violated any Florida traffic laws at the time of the accident. They will examine if one or both drivers were speeding, running red lights, or committing other traffic offenses. An individual who broke traffic laws at the time of the accident will most likely be assigned a higher percentage of fault.
Police Reports and Witness Statements
Insurance companies rely heavily on the information provided in police reports and witness statements to determine fault. They will carefully analyze all available evidence, including photographs, diagrams, and descriptions of the accident scene. Witness accounts are critical as they provide an unbiased perspective on the events leading up to the crash.
Vehicle Damage and Accident Reconstruction
The damage to the vehicles involved in the accident can also be crucial in determining fault. Insurance adjusters often use experts to reconstruct the accident scene based on the damage. This can help them to establish the angle of impact, speed of the vehicles, and other factors that may contribute to determining which driver was more at fault.
Pre-existing Conditions and Injuries
Insurance companies may also consider any pre-existing conditions or injuries that either driver may have had before the accident. For example, if someone already had a spinal injury, the insurance company would account for this when determining how much of the back injury and pain resulted from the crash versus the pre-existing condition.
Why You Need Our Experienced Auto Accident Lawyers For Your Case
Shared fault can add complications to an already challenging case. Even so, partial responsibility means you still have the right to recover compensation for your injuries. An experienced attorney can thoroughly review your case to determine an appropriate course of action, even if the insurance company has already assigned fault or you have questions about the new, two-year statute of limitation.
Contact Kogan & DiSalvo for a Free Consultation
Our team can conduct our own investigation into what happened. If our findings contradict the insurance company’s, we may have solid grounds for adjusting the fault assigned, thus helping to ensure you get the compensation your case deserves. You can trust that we will leverage our considerable resources and experience to fight for your rights.
Contact our team at Kogan & DiSalvo to schedule a free consultation and review your options today. Since we work on a contingency basis, there are no upfront legal fees. We look forward to hearing from you.