Comparative Negligence in a Florida Truck Accident Case - Cardoso Law, PLLC

Three semi-trucks on the road

Sustaining injuries in an accident involving a large commercial truck in Florida can have a significant impact on your life. Financially, you may struggle to pay for medical treatment while also being unable to work during your recovery. If your injuries are severe, they can also deprive you of the ability to participate in activities that once brought you joy.

You may be eligible to receive compensation for these losses if your accident resulted from another party’s wrongdoing. However, perhaps your own negligence also played a role in the collision. The extent to which it did may affect how much compensation you receive.

A Pensacola, Florida truck accident lawyer from Cardoso Law, PLLC, can explain this topic in greater detail to you. During your free case review, we’ll gladly answer questions you have about Florida’s comparative negligence law and the impact it may have on your case.

What Is Comparative Negligence or Comparative Responsibility?

Florida is one of many states where comparative fault or comparative negligence can influence how much compensation an injured party may receive in a truck crash case. Under the comparative fault Florida law, the degree to which an injured party’s own negligence played a role in a wreck can reduce how much compensation they’re eligible to receive. Additionally, if the injured party was more than 50 percent at fault, they would be barred from pursuing any compensation.

For example, say you sustained injuries when a negligent truck driver sped through a red light and struck your vehicle. The truck driver is clearly negligent in this scenario.

However, maybe footage of the crash shows you weren’t thoroughly paying attention when you entered the intersection. Perhaps it’s possible to argue that you might have avoided the collision had you been more vigilant.

Under the laws of comparative negligence in Florida, you may have contributed to the accident in these circumstances. If a court finds you were partly responsible for the crash but still awards damages to you, your award will be reduced by the same percentage as the fault you bear for the accident.

Who Determines If I’m Partially At Fault For a Truck Accident?

The law indicates a court or jury may determine whether a plaintiff’s negligence contributed to their accident or injuries. However, comparative fault can influence a Florida truck accident case even if it doesn’t go to court.

Seeking compensation after a truck accident usually involves filing a claim with the negligent party’s insurance company. Pursuing a settlement will require negotiating with the insurer.

Even though the comparative negligence system is binding on the courts, insurance companies will keep them in mind during negotiations. They know that if you were partly at fault, you’d get a reduced amount if you go to trial, so they will offer you a similarly reduced amount. Thus, comparative negligence may indirectly affect your compensation, even if you ultimately settle out of court.

How Does Comparative Negligence Affect a Truck Accident Claim?

In Florida comparative negligence cases, if the injured party was in any way at fault for the crash, a percentage of fault will be assigned to them. The amount of that percentage will impact their total compensation.

To return to the above example, let’s say you would have been eligible to receive up to $100,000 after a truck driver collided with your vehicle. However, maybe a jury determines you’re 30 percent to blame for the crash. The total compensation you could receive in these circumstances would be $70,000.

This is one of the many reasons gathering evidence in the aftermath of a Florida truck crash is essential. The more evidence you gather, the easier it may be for a jury to assign fault properly.

What To Do After a Florida Truck Accident

A large commercial truck can cause serious harm. Your ability to take the following steps after a Florida truck collision may depend on the severity of your injuries. You no doubt called 911 and sought medical attention. If you didn’t, you should immediately go to see your doctor, not only for your health but also to establish that any injuries you suffered were the result of the crash.

Additionally, you could:

  • Take pictures of the damaged vehicles, your injury, and the location of the crash. If you’re unable to, you can send a friend back to the scene later to get pictures, or your attorney can do it.
  • Follow all your doctor’s instructions and keep every appointment until they release you from care.
  • Keep a pain journal to document the course of your treatment and the effects the injury has on your ability to pursue your usual activities.
  • Contact a Florida truck accident attorney immediately to deal with the insurance company on your behalf.

Who Could Be Liable for a Semi-Truck Crash?

Various parties may be liable in Florida truck crash cases. Understanding Florida’s comparative fault laws can help you better understand how multiple parties’ negligence may influence a case.

Potentially liable parties in truck crash cases include:

  • The trucking company
  • The truck driver
  • The company responsible for designing or manufacturing the truck and related equipment if equipment failure caused the crash
  • The company responsible for maintaining a truck and related equipment if faulty servicing resulted in an accident
  • Government agencies responsible for maintaining safe roads with unobstructed view of signage
  • Other motorists, whose negligence may have caused the truck accident

Determining liability after a truck crash may require conducting an investigation. A comparative negligence Florida attorney with experience handling truck collision cases may conduct such an investigation on your behalf.

Deadline to File a Truck Accident Claim in Florida

You have two years from the date you sustained injuries to file a truck accident lawsuit in Florida. Failure to file a claim by the deadline will cause you to lose your right to pursue compensation in court, which is your best leverage with the insurance company. Avoid this by meeting with an attorney to discuss your legal options sooner rather than later.

Contact our Pensacola Truck Accident Lawyer for Help

Under Florida comparative fault laws, the degree to which you were negligent when a truck crash occurred can affect your compensation. That’s just one reason it pays to have qualified representation when taking legal action after a truck crash.

At Cardoso Law, PLLC, a Pensacola, Florida truck accident attorney is available to offer dedicated service as you recover from what could be severe injuries. Learn more about how we can help by contacting us online or calling us for a free case review.