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Determining Fault and Liability in Serious Car Accidents

You were driving to work when a speeding car rear-ends you. You suffered a broken arm and whiplash as a result of the impact. Your medical bills exceeded $50,000 and you had to take a month off work to recover.

What happens next? Will you receive compensation from the other party to pay for your damages? Will you be considered liable for the accident?

Liability can be a tricky thing to determine in the event of a car accident in Miami. Sometimes victims believe they are completely off the hook when in fact they partly contributed to their injuries. In some states, this would bar them from receiving any compensation. This is not true in Florida, however.

Florida Negligence Laws

Each state is different when it comes to negligence laws. Under Florida Statutes Section 768.81, the state uses a comparative negligence system to determine fault and rights to compensation. This means that more than one person can be at fault for an accident, and they can each be assigned different percentages of fault.

If one person solely contributed to the accident, then he or she would be 100 percent at fault. If the other party was seriously injured and was entitled to receive $100,000, then the person would receive the entire amount because he or she was not at fault whatsoever.

Compensation, however, decreases based on percentage of fault. Therefore, if it was determined that the injured party contributed 20 percent to the accident, then compensation would decrease by 20 percent.

Determining Fault

In an accident, it’s one person’s word against another—unless there is specific evidence that is favorable toward one party. For example, a police report can help insurance companies understand what happened and who should be held liable. Witness accounts can also be very helpful in providing details.

Taking photos of the accident scene and jotting down notes about the location, weather conditions, time of day and other details can also help insurers make a decision. When speaking to the insurance company or police, state the facts but do not admit fault. This will be up to the insurance company to decide. Sometimes other factors are at play, and even though you may think you are fault, the other driver may have done something to cause the crash.

There are many things that can contribute to an accident, such as intoxication, speeding, running red lights and distracted driving. The insurance company will examine all of these factors. In complex cases where a crash involved numerous vehicles, experts may be brought in to reconstruct the crash and find out what led to it.

Were You Involved in a Serious Car Accident?

A car accident can change your life. You may suffer multiple injuries and struggle for many months or even years to recover.

It’s important to determine liability so you can receive the compensation you need to pay for medical bills, lost wages and other damages. The Miami personal injury attorneys at the law offices of Dolan Dobrinsky Rosenblum, LLP can help preserve your legal rights and file a claim against the liable party. Request a free consultation by calling our law offices today at (786) 661-1359.