Skip to Content
Fiercely Advocating On Our Clients’ Behalf 954-914-7116

Comparative Negligence Law Changes in Florida

Until recently, Florida followed what was considered a pure comparative negligence doctrine. However, in March 2023, changes were made in how Florida law handles comparative negligence in personal injury claims. Florida now follows what is called modified comparative negligence doctrine.

Read our blog to learn more about comparative negligence, the changes to Florida law, and how it might impact your personal injury case.

What Is Comparative Negligence?

Under the old model of pure comparative negligence in Florida, the plaintiff could recover damages in a personal injury case even if they were found to be 99% at fault. Their compensation would be reduced by their percentage of fault. For example, if a plaintiff were awarded $100,000 but found 75% at fault, they would only receive $25,000. This system aimed to proportionately distribute the responsibility and the consequences for an accident based on each party's degree of fault.

Florida's New Modified Comparative Negligence

Under this revised model, a plaintiff can recover damages only if they are 50% or less t fault. If the plaintiff's fault exceeds 50%, they are not entitled to compensation. This marks a significant departure from the previous system and, as such, has a substantial impact on the outcome of personal injury cases and whether a plaintiff can even bring a claim before the court.

For instance, under the new system, if a plaintiff is awarded $100,000 in damages but is found to be 51% at fault, they would not be entitled to any compensation. Conversely, if the same plaintiff were found to be 49% at fault, they would receive $51,000, or 51% of the total award.

This new approach aims to limit the liability of defendants in cases where the plaintiff bears a substantial portion of the blame for their injuries.

How Comparative Negligence May Impact Personal Injury Claims

The consequences of Florida's new modified comparative negligence law on personal injury claims are significant. It alters the landscape of who can bring a case forward and potentially receive compensation. Under the previous law, a plaintiff could have been primarily responsible for an accident and still receive some form of compensation. However, the new law's 50% fault threshold may even affect a plaintiff's decision regarding bringing a claim before the court.

Those who have contributed to more than 50% of their incident or have complicated cases where they fear the courts will assign them more than 50% liability may be dissuaded from filing a lawsuit. It also affects the legal strategies employed by both plaintiffs and defendants.

Attorneys for plaintiffs will need to maneuver carefully when planning and employing their legal strategies.

What About Medical Malpractice?

It's important to note that Florida's new modified comparative negligence law does not apply to all personal injury cases. Specifically, medical malpractice cases have been exempted from this change. This means that the previous standard of pure comparative negligence still applies when it comes to medical malpractice, and the portion of liability that a plaintiff carries does not matter when it comes to seeking compensation (provided they are less than 100% liable).

How Legal Representation Can Help

If you or a loved one has been injured due to medical malpractice and are concerned about how the new comparative negligence law in Florida may impact your ability to seek justice, it is crucial to seek professional legal guidance. Here at Rash Mueller, with our extensive experience and deep understanding of negligence laws and medical malpractice, we can provide clients with strong, reasoned legal representation.

Navigating the complexities of malpractice cases can be daunting without experienced guidance. You don't have to deal with this on your own. Reach out to Rash Mueller today to get help plotting a clear path toward the resolution of your case.