I was involved in a vehicle accident and I think I was partially at fault. Will this affect the amount of damages I receive?

Florida is a no-fault state when it comes to car accidents. Each driver involved in a vehicle accident is required by state law to first seek compensation for their injuries from their own insurance provider under their personal injury protection (PIP) policy — even if the other driver was at fault. Drivers are required to buy personal injury protection, which provides coverage for medical expenses and lost wages of up to $10,000 for non-permanent injuries, regardless of blame.

Unfortunately, car accident victims may only bring a personal injury claim in court for their pain and suffering only under specific circumstances such as permanent and serious injuries or disfigurement. If a case like that is brought to court, the amount of damages received will be apportioned consistently with Florida’s comparative fault laws. Meaning, car accident liability is allocated based on percentage of fault even if the accident was mainly the other driver’s fault.

For example, if an individual was 25 percent at fault for the accident, he or she may lose 25 percent of the total damages awarded. That means the person may only be awarded $75,000 despite being owed $100,000. If someone in a car accident is blamed for a higher percentage of fault than is fair, their compensation will be reduced.

Determining fault in a car accident can be complicated. The responding police officer may have jumped to conclusions or flat out got it wrong. An aggressive car accident attorney will fight hard to make sure that the fault is apportioned appropriately and that rights are protected when facing big insurance companies.

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