After a car accident, one of the first steps (once you have addressed your important medical needs) is to file an accident claim with the responsible driver’s car insurance company. Sometimes this can be a fairly straightforward process, but in some situations, there may be a disagreement about who is at fault for the crash, or how much each driver involved is at fault—known as comparative negligence. It is going to be very important that these disagreements be resolved before any real progress is made with the accident claim, and more importantly, with you getting the settlement amount that you truly deserve.
If there is anything unclear or uncertain about an accident, you can be certain that the insurance company will focus on these discrepancies and use them as a reason to reduce the amount that they payout for your accident. One of the top priorities of any insurance company is to identify and utilize every possible reason to reduce the amount that a victim receives for any given claim, in order to protect the insurance company’s financial interests and long-term profitability. While this certainly makes sense from a company’s point of view, you deserve to get the money that you are entitled to, NOT the money that the insurance company would prefer to pay.
In order to make sure that you take every step towards maximizing your settlement or accident claim amount, start working with a qualified personal injury attorney in Orlando as soon as possible. One of the tasks that your attorney will assume is to prove the other driver’s negligence. Learn more about why this is important below and contact 1-800-Injured as soon as possible to be connected to a proven attorney in our referral network today.
Who Is At Fault For My Accident?
In order to determine who is at fault for an accident, there are many possible angles of approach. Ideally, the responsible party and the cause of the accident are obvious, and there is no disagreement about who is responsible for the damages. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. It is important that the police make a detailed report after the accident, and take statements from any available witnesses, if possible. In addition, you or your attorney can try to find surveillance or traffic cameras in the area that could have either caught the accident or events leading to it that may help bring more clarity to the situation.
When you have a lawyer who is familiar with car accident claims, they will be able to identify effective methods for determining fault in an accident depending on the nature of your accident, the type of disagreement about fault, and more. You can learn more about why it is so important to clearly establish and determine negligence in the next section, where we will talk about comparative negligence in Florida.
Comparative Negligence, and Why It Is Important
The term “comparative negligence” refers to how responsible for a crash that any given party in a car accident is. For instance, it may be determined that one driver is almost entirely responsible for the accident between two vehicles because of a certain action that they took, but the other party—the victim—may be determined to have been 10% at fault for their failure to brake or otherwise avoid the collision. In this case, the comparative negligence for the accident would by 90% and 10%.
The amount of comparative negligence does not actually impact the victim’s ability to seek damages, In fact, even someone who is mostly at-fault may still seek damages. However, once there is an agreement about the total value of the damages, the final settlement amount will be reduced by their percentage of responsibility. Therefore, a person who is 10% responsible for a crash that caused $100,000 in personal injury damages will have their settlement reduced by 10% for a final settlement amount of $90,000.
The fact that a party can be found at some fault for the accident and still be entitled to damages is a very helpful law because, in other states that use a “contributory negligence” system (Alabama, Maryland, North Carolina, and Virginia), anyone found to have been even 1% at fault is not entitled to any damages whatsoever. While this change in law does afford significant advantages for victims, it also means that it is essential to make sure that you are not held any more responsible for an accident than you actually are, so that you can collect as much money as you deserve.