Can You Be Partially At-Fault and Recover Damages?

Sometimes, it’s clear who the at-fault driver is. Someone runs a red light at a busy intersection and hits the driver who was going the speed limit and had the right-of-way.

Accidents are usually more confusing. Each case is different. Many times, both drivers bear some responsibility for the accident. One party usually bears a greater amount of responsibility, but the other’s contribution cannot be ignored.

A common question that arises is how to seek damages even when you were partially at fault for an accident? And if the other person was, for example, 30% responsible, does this mean that you won’t receive anything?

Florida has laws that will answer your questions.

No-Fault Insurance 

Florida has a modified comparative fault rule when it comes to apportioning damages after a car accident. Why does Florida do this? For the exact reasons stated above. Accidents happen quickly. Determining the exact level of fault for each driver may be difficult or outright impossible.

If you suffer damages (medical or financial), your insurance is going to cover you—the extent of which is dependent on the coverage you’ve chosen. Many people rush through the insurance-buying process. The name of the insurance we are talking about is Personal Injury Protection. It is commonly abbreviated as PIP coverage.

To drive a car in Florida, you need to carry a minimum of $10,000 in PIP coverage.  This policy is going to be your source of recovering losses. It does not matter who is at fault.

Is My Car Covered?

Florida’s no-fault system does not apply to vehicle damage. It also does not pay for “pain and suffering.” But let’s say you were at fault in a no-fault state, who pays for car damage and serious injuries?

If you were mostly at fault, you can still receive coverage for medical and financial losses. However, you could still have a lawsuit or an insurance claim filed against you. Other parties may seek compensation for “pain and suffering” or damage to their vehicle. But in Florida, injuries from accidents need to be “serious.” Examples of how this is defined are as follows:

  • A permanent or significant limitation of a body organ, member, or body function
  • Disfigurement
  • Bone fracture
  • Being fully disabled for a period of 90 days or more

The key here is to remember that if you are at fault in an accident, you are still covered by your PIP coverage. But you should speak to a qualified attorney to ensure your rights are being protected after an accident.

McKinnon Legal

It is not uncommon for investigations after a car accident to get quite complex — especially if there is a question as to fault. While it’s strongly recommended to seek out a qualified personal injury firm before (and/or after) submitting an insurance claim. Contact McKinnon Legal to schedule a consultation today. Don’t wait to safeguard your rights.