Can I still recover compensation if I am partially at fault for the accident?

Yes, you can still recover compensation even when you are partially at fault for your personal injury. However, your percentage of fault will reduce the amount that you'll be able to recover. For example, for 40% negligence, your damages decrease by 40%.

Personal injury cases cover a broad range of potential events. According to the law, individuals can be held responsible if their negligence or reckless behavior caused another person's injury.

Theoretically, that sounds simple. However, accidents are often the result of several factors and injured individuals may share some amount of responsibility.

Florida is a no-fault state and a comparative negligence state, meaning that in a Miami car accident, even if one driver was partially at fault for the crash, they can still receive a certain amount of monetary compensation, but it can vary considerably.

Once the percent of fault is established, the total compensation the plaintiff could recover will be reduced by the percentage of fault. For example, if you were involved in a car accident in Miami with another driver who was under the influence of alcohol, but you were driving over the speed limit, a judge might decide that you are 40% at fault for the accident. In that case, you can still recover 60% of your damages. Of course, if the other driver suffered losses as well, you or your insurance company will have to cover 40% of his damages.

Florida’s no-fault Car insurance laws

Under Florida Statute section 627.736, medical, surgical, funeral, and disability benefits are available after car accidents as part of a personal injury protection plan without regard to fault. These compensatory benefits include:

  • Medical benefits: "80% of all reasonable expenses for medically necessary medical, surgical, X-ray, dental, and rehabilitative services, including prosthetic devices and medically necessary ambulance, hospital, and nursing services"
  • Disability benefits: "60% of any loss of gross income and loss of earning capacity per individual from the inability to work proximately caused by the injury sustained by the injured person"
  • Death benefits: "Death benefits of $5,000 per individual. Death benefits are in addition to the medical and disability benefits provided under the insurance policy"

For more detailed information, please consult the Florida Statute 627.736.

Common car accident scenarios where both drivers share liability

There are many situations in which the driver that was hit could also be responsible. One common event is when the driver in front of you suddenly hits the breaks and you rear-end his car. You might need the testimony of a witness to hold the other person responsible, otherwise, you might be at fault for following too close.

The driver that was hit could also be responsible in one of the following cases:

  • They were backing up out of a parking space or down the street
  • The car was pulling out of a driveway into oncoming traffic
  • The driver in front slammed on the brakes to avoid hitting a person, an animal, or another vehicle
  • The driver slammed on the brakes in a road rage situation

The amount recovered will depend on the percentage of fault each driver had. A court assigns percentages of blame in awarding damages stemming from a car accident lawsuit. What this means is that you need to present evidence that the other driver was at fault. If you were partially at fault, your awarded damages would be reduced by any percentage that the court deems you were at fault for.

If you were involved in a car accident in Miami that was partially your fault, it is important to know that you can still file a claim to preserve your chances of compensation.

Steps to take immediately after a car accident

  • It is imperative to make sure an accident report is filed. If the police arrive at the scene, make sure you give a statement and sign it.
  • Document the scene of the accident and take pictures of the scene, the damages to your car, and your injuries. Do not forget to write down the license number and the name of the other driver's insurance company as well as contact details of potential witnesses. You should also contact your insurance company and inform them about the accident, but avoid signing any statement or agreement.
  • Immediately after the crash, make sure you receive a medical check-up and that you keep the medical report and any bills you might have paid. It is important to present evidence such as a police report when suing an at-fault driver for damages in Florida. In addition to your medical records, a police report could include a description of the injuries you suffered as a result of the accident. Because Florida is a no-fault state regarding car insurance, you must prove that your injuries are sufficiently serious as to justify leaving the no-fault system. Only by leaving the no-fault system can you reject the settlement offer made by your car insurance provider and go after the at-fault driver and his or her insurer for adequate compensation.

If the other driver received a ticket, there is consistent evidence they were at fault for the accident. If no ticket was given, the best option is to contact our personal injury attorney in Miami, who can investigate the details of the crash and gather evidence that supports your case.

Disclaimer: Please note that the information provided on this site is not formal legal advice, also the site does not allow you to form an attorney-client relationship.