What happens if both drivers in an accident were negligent?
A car accident victim in a multiple car accident might be entitled to sue one or more of the drivers for compensation for the medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages caused by the accident. Recovery in Florida is based upon the law of negligence, making drivers who fail to exercise the reasonable standard of care expected of operators of motor vehicles responsible for the injuries and damages caused by their conduct.
On the other hand, the party being sued for compensation might claim that the victim's own negligent conduct contributed to causing the accident. This does not necessarily mean that the injured driver cannot recover damages against the other party.
Florida law allows a judge or jurors to award damages even when there is evidence proving that the car accident victim was also negligent. Under the law of comparative negligence, the amount of money that would be awarded to the victim is reduced in an amount that is proportionate to the amount of fault attributed to the victim.
Unlike the laws in some states in which I contributory negligence on the part of the person seeking compensation prohibits a court or jury from awarding damages to that person, comparative negligence offers no such prohibition. It does not, however, relieve an accident victim of the burden of proving the circumstances under which an accident occurred.
Negligence is a complex area of the law in Florida. This blog is an overview of one segment of the law, but it is not intended as legal advice. Advice concerning car accidents and personal injury should only be obtained from an attorney who is familiar with the facts and circumstances of the particular case.