How is Fault Determined in a Fort Lauderdale Car Crash?

A car accident compensation claim helps you seek damages for any losses you have suffered in a crash. However, the claim must be backed by evidence and you must prove your right to damages in Fort Lauderdale.

A part of this is to show that the negligence of another person or entity caused the crash. This is where the notion of ‘fault’ comes into play. Fault is an important thing to consider when it comes to personal injury claims in general. Here’s a look at what it is and how it relates to car crash claims.

What is Fault in a Car Accident?

Fault is basically the responsibility for causing a crash. It is directly linked to the negligence of a person or entity. If a person’s negligence caused an accident, that person is at fault. It is possible for more than one person to be at fault in a given incident. In this case, fault will be distributed as a percentage among the responsible persons, based on their degree of negligence.

For instance, if a driver is solely responsible for causing an accident, he may be found 100% at fault. But if a driver applied brakes suddenly without a sound reason, and a second driver who was speeding rear-ended him, both may be at fault. So both drivers will be assigned a percentage of the fault so that their total fault equals 100%.

When proving fault in a car accident claim, the first thing you must be able to show is the negligence of the other party. Legally, negligence is accepted when it includes the following four elements:

  • Duty of care: You must show that the plaintiff owed you a duty of care. Drivers owe each other a duty of care in that they are expected to drive safely and carefully, follow the laws, and make an effort to avoid an accident.
  • Breach of duty of care: After you have established that another driver owed you a duty of care, you must then show that the said driver breached this duty of care. An example is a driver who runs a red light.
  • Injury caused by breach: Even after you have proven breach, you can’t recover any compensation unless you also show that the breach directly caused your injury or harm.
  • Losses: The final element of negligence is to prove your damages. You must show that the injury or harm caused by the plaintiff actually translated into real damages for you.

Florida’s Pure Comparative Negligence Rule

If you have suffered a car crash in Fort Lauderdale, any compensation claim you file is likely going to involve the pure comparative negligence rule of Florida. Here’s what that means for you.

As discussed above, fault is often distributed as a percentage among the drivers involved. When this happens, the compensation you receive is reduced by your assigned percentage of fault.

An example will illustrate this better. Let’s assume that your total proven losses in a car crash amount to $10,000. Now if you were 0% at fault, you would receive the full amount of this compensation. However, if you are 10% at fault, you will get $9,000. If you are found 50% at fault, your total compensation is reduced to $5,000. And so on.

Many states have a rule that if your fault is above 51%, you can’t receive any compensation at all. Thankfully, this is not true for Florida.

Florida’s pure comparative negligence rule allows you to recover compensation even if you were 99% at fault. Even in such an extreme case, you will still be able to recover 1% damages.

Florida and No-Fault Car Insurance

Florida is a no-fault state. This means that in the event of a car accident, your first recourse would be to seek damages from your own insurer. This is in contrast to fault states where you are able to seek damages from the negligent driver.

However, there are some exceptions to this insurance rule in Fort Lauderdale. If your injuries are serious enough to cross a threshold, you may be entitled to seek damages through a lawsuit against the other party.

Hiring a Car Crash Attorney in Fort Lauderdale, FL

If you have suffered property damages, injuries, or both in a car accident in Fort Lauderdale, it is important to consult a reputable attorney right away. Here at Englander Peebles Law Firm, we have been working with Fort Lauderdale car crash victims for a long time. We help you determine the at-fault party in an accident, file your claim in time, and recover the compensation you deserve. Drop us a message today to schedule a FREE case evaluation by our experienced lawyers.

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