Attorney David I. Fuchs
Sep. 14, 2011
Car Accident Law
In Florida, for car accidents that result in injury, establishing or proving liability for the accident is essential to recovering money or other damages from the at fault party or parties.
In Florida, as in most states, negligence law defines who is at fault for a car accident. Florida law places liability on the party or parties involved in a car accident who acted outside the zone of what is deemed to be reasonable and safe conduct in the operation of a motor vehicle. A driver has a duty to use reasonable care in driving a car. If the driver fails to use reasonable care, he or she is deemed to have acted negligently. A jury finding of negligence will force an at fault driver to pay damages to the victims who were injured in the accident or who suffered property damage.
Evidence of liability is crucial to establishing that you are entitled to money or other damages. Pre-litigation, your attorney will generally present this evidence of liability to the third party insurance company for the at-fault driver or drivers. If your attorney is unable to reach a settlement with that insurance company, your remaining option is to file a personal injury lawsuit against the at fault party or parties who are legally responsible and liable for causing the car accident. Examples of evidence that you will need to establish liability in a Florida personal injury lawsuit are the police report completed by law enforcement officials; any witness statements taken following the accident; medical bills and documentation of any other medical expenses that you incurred due to injuries sustained in the accident; any photographs taken of the accident scene and damages to your vehicle; and written documentation of your lost wages or income due to your injuries.
The stronger the evidence that you are able to muster proving that another party was liable for the car accident, the better the chance you have at receiving money damages.
Florida is a comparative negligence state, not a contributory negligence state. Comparative negligence means that a party who has been injured in a Florida car accident may be partially at fault, but still may be able to recover damages for injuries. Even if a Florida plaintiff is found to be more than 50 percent at fault for a car accident, he or she may still be able to recover damages. The percentage of fault or liability ascribed to you for the car accident shall reduce the amount of any jury verdict in your favor by that same percentage.