Thursday, 28 January 2016

Legal Obligations if Accident Was Your Fault

 Are You Able to Sue Someone If An Accident Was Your Fault

Have you or someone you know been involved in a construction site accident? Unfortunately, most people involved in accidents are not familiar with the steps that need to be taken next to protect themselves and their property. Also, they are not familiar with the laws in their states that provide options for compensation. 


Florida is one of the 10 states in the US that follows “no-fault” Personal Injury Protection (PIP). This is a mandatory addition to vehicle insurance and means that insurance companies pay for the medical expenses of their clients up to certain limits regardless of who was at fault in an automobile accident. The amounts that can be recovered from PIP are somewhat inadequate so there is always the option of suing someone if your expenses have not been covered. This can only be done if the injury sustained falls under the “serious injury” category as defined by Florida law and if there is substantial proof that the injury was caused by the other party – in other words, you were NOT at fault.

You're at Fault

What if you were at fault? Is there any way you can claim personal injury and claim some part of medical expenses or property damage? Florida law allows for settlement in cases where fault lies partially between two parties. This is called “comparative fault”. If you can prove that the other party was at least partially responsible for causing the accident or the injuries and damages that occurred as a result of that accident, you can sue the other party. 

These cases can be quite complicated, because determining a certain percentage of “fault” can be hard to prove in court. Let’s take a simple example. Suppose the accident was caused because you switched lanes without using an indicator. The fault lies with you. But during the course of the investigation it is discovered that the other driver was over the speed limit at that time. This puts you in the position of suing the other person for damages. The jury can then determine how much percentage of fault lies with the other driver. 



The compensation part is much less complicated. Florida follows a “pure comparative fault” rule. Once the jury has determined the percentage of faults for both parties, compensation is awarded exactly according to the percentage. For example, if the jury found that the over speeding by the other driver was at least 25 percent responsible for the accident, then you will be paid 25 percent of the expenses that you initially claimed for. 

The Florida comparative fault rules are different from other states in that you can recover a certain percentage of your claim regardless of whether you are “more at fault” than the other party, as is the case in the example above. In some states, the “at fault” party can only claim damages from the other party if the other party is found to be 50 percent or more responsible for the accident.  


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