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Maitland Personal Injury Lawyer > Blog > Personal Injury > New Tort Reform Law Changes Comparative Negligence Standard In Florida

New Tort Reform Law Changes Comparative Negligence Standard In Florida


If you were injured in an accident in Florida, but contributed to it in some way, you could still be entitled to compensation, albeit in an amount reduced by your degree of fault. In prior years, in fact, you could have technically been eligible for compensation even if you were mostly at fault for the accident that caused your injury. The recent passage of a new tort reform bill in Florida, however, modified this standard somewhat. As a result, claimants who are more than 50 percent at fault for their injuries will now be barred from recovery.

Comparative Negligence Systems 

With a few exceptions, most states in the U.S. use one of three standards of negligence liability:

  • Contributory negligence;
  • Pure comparative negligence; and
  • Modified comparative negligence.

Under the first standard, accident victims are barred from recovering damages if they contributed in any way to their accident, regardless of how small of a role they actually played in causing the accident. Pure comparative negligence, on the other hand, allows accident victims who contributed to their accidents to recover damages, although in an amount that reflects their degree of fault. The modified comparative negligence standard falls somewhere in the middle, allowing accident victims some leeway when it comes to fault, but creating a threshold for recovery at 50 percent.

Modified Comparative Negligence Standard 

Until March, Florida courts had applied the pure comparative negligence standard in personal injury cases for almost four decades. Under this system, accident victims had their damages reduced in direct proportion to their degree of fault. For instance, a car accident victim who was deemed to be ten percent at fault for a car crash could expect his or her damages award to be reduced by the same amount, so if his or her losses were $100,000, then that amount would be reduced by ten percent, or $10,000. This system, however, was recently replaced with a modified comparative negligence standard. Under this system, plaintiffs can recover damages even if they contributed to their accidents in some way, but only if they are 50 percent or less at fault for the accident in question. Claimants who are found to have been more than 50 percent responsible for an accident are barred from recovering any monetary compensation from the defendant for injury-related losses.

Exception to the New Standard

 There is, however, one limited exception to Florida’s adoption of a modified comparative negligence standard. Wrongful death claims arising out of medical negligence, for instance, are still subject to the former pure comparative negligence standard.

Call Goldman Law, P.A. to Speak with an Experienced Maitland Personal Injury Lawyer 

The tort reform package recently enacted in Florida could have a significant impact on personal injury claims going forward. To speak with a dedicated Maitland personal injury lawyer about how these changes could affect your own case, call Goldman Law, P.A. at 407-960-1900. You can also schedule a free consultation by sending us your contact details via online message.




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