In Florida, civil litigation for personal injury cases operates under a principle of pure comparative negligence. This means that even if you're partly at fault for an accident, you may collect damages. However, the amount of damages you can collect goes down as your share in the fault for an accident increases.
If you live in or around Stuart, Florida or Martin County, one reason it's important to enlist the services of a Stuart, FL personal injury lawyer is to help you figure out who shares the fault in an accident and the extent of each individual's degree of fault.
Who's at fault? An example from the news
Just one example for how multiple people can be at fault for an accident and resulting damages can be seen in a news story published in Florida Today.
A Dodge truck pulling a trailer with a boat stopped on the road. The driver got out to check if the truck, trailer and boat were all hooked up properly; a passenger in the Dodge truck also got out to direct traffic around the stopped vehicle with its trailer.
A Ford Explorer wound up hitting both the boat trailer and the Dodge truck passenger. The Dodge truck passenger sustained serious injuries requiring hospitalization, while both the Dodge truck driver and a passenger in the Ford Explorer sustained minor injuries.
The Ford Explorer driver received a citation for distracted driving, and the Dodge truck driver got cited for improperly stopping his vehicle in the middle of the road.
It appears that in this case there were multiple people at fault for the chain of events that ultimately led to the accident. The degree to which each person is at fault will affect the amount of damages he or she will be able to collect in the event of a lawsuit. Their role in the accident may also affect what they're able to collect from insurance companies.
In the aftermath of an accident, don't hesitate to contact an experienced attorney. Figuring out who's at fault and to what extent isn't easy. It's likely that you'll need legal guidance from an attorney.