The Ticket Doesn’t Matter
Hey, it’s Dave. I’ve represented over a thousand people in car crash cases, and you would think car crash cases are by and large pretty simple. You’re sitting at a red light, you get rear-ended by somebody, it’s the other person’s fault. That’s true a lot of times, but you would be surprised how frequently, even when you get rear-ended, the other side says, it’s your fault. They blame it on you because they say you suddenly and unexpectedly stopped in traffic.
Today I want to talk about a couple things that come up over and over in car crash cases here in Florida.
The first thing you need to understand about car crash cases in Florida is the ticket doesn’t matter in your civil cause of action. So whoever got the ticket is never gonna be admissible in court. This is something that confuses people, and it drives them crazy. Now, admittedly, sometimes it’s to their benefit. The public policy reason for this is that law enforcement officers sometimes get it wrong. It’s up to the jury to decide fault. The jury has to hear all the evidence, and then they get to make their own determination as to who’s at fault. So if you’re in a jury trial and somebody was to blurt out, but she got the ticket, you’re gonna have to try the case again. The judge will declare a mistrial, and you’re gonna have to do it all over. It is highly improper here in Florida to say that one party or the other party got a ticket, or to say that nobody got a ticket. You can’t talk about tickets and car crashes here in Florida, and that’s a good thing. Now, the thing you need to understand about comparative negligence in Florida is our system is a pure comparative negligence system. So when you go to trial on your civil case, the jury has to first decide whether or not the other party was at fault, so whether they were negligent. And if they say, yeah, they were negligent, the defense can then put on evidence that you, yourself, as the plaintiff, the person bringing the cause of action, was also negligent. If the jury says yes to that question, it’s the jury’s job to decide out of both people, what is the percentage of fault between both people. The number has to equal a hundred. And they decide, okay, it’s 50/50, it’s 90/10, whatever they happen to come up with. But the thing that’s important for you to understand about comparative negligence is your verdict. Your amount that you’re gonna put in your pocket is gonna be reduced by your portion of comparative fault. So if the jury finds you 10% at fault for the car crash, and your case is worth $10,000, you’re not gonna get 10% of that $10,000, you’ll only get $9,000. Now, if your case is worth a million dollars, you would get $900,000, so you would get the 90% that the other side is responsible for. And this is really fair because sometimes it’s a little bit of both people’s fault, and it’s up to the jury to decide. So in some states, if you’re 1% at fault, you get nothing. Thankfully, that’s not the rules here in Florida. If you’re 1% at fault, you’re gonna get 99% of the value of your case from the other side. That’s the way pure comparative negligence works here in Florida.
If you have questions about your car crash case, give us a buzz at 1-800-ASK-DAVE.
We’re here to help.