How Is Fault Determined in a Florida Car Crash?

Who is at fault is important. After a Florida motor vehicle accident, the party who was wronged has a right to receive compensation from the party at fault, recovering either from their insurance company or after having sued the liable party personally. It is worth mentioning here that the state of Florida uses the system of Comparative Negligence, allowing for apportionment of fault between the parties when the responsibility for causing the accident has been found to be shared.

Who is at fault is first defined by Common Law, which recognizes four levels of fault:
  1. Negligence
  2. Recklessness or wanton conduct
  3. Intentional misconduct
  4. Strict liability (for instance, accidents caused by defective products)

There is rarely a discussion about fault when a driver was reckless or engaged in intentional misconduct. Drunken driving, for instance, will in most cases make the driver liable for the damages caused.

Negligence cases are often more difficult to blame on one or the other person, and sometimes both may have contributed to the crash. Negligence can be passive (failure to yield a right-of-way) or active (loss of control of the vehicle).

Statutory Violations
How drivers must operate their vehicles on public roadways has been addressed in every state by statutory laws. A violation of these statutes generally creates a presumption of negligence as a matter of law. This means that a violation of a statute may constitute a "fault." A driver presumed to have caused a crash by virtue of a statutory violation must prove that he or she was not negligent, or that this negligence was not a proximate cause of the crash. To determine if a cause is "proximate," one must ask whether the accident would have occurred "but for" this cause.

If you have been hurt in a car accident caused by someone else, call the Daytona Beach attorneys of Johnson & Gilbert PA today toll free at (800) 556-8890 or locally at (386) 673-4412, or send us an email to arrange a free consultation.