Contributory Negligence vs. Comparative Negligence in Florida

Florida is a comparative negligence state, which means that the damages that a plaintiff is awarded will be reduced by the percentage of fault of that plaintiff. But what does that mean for worker’s compensation claims that are made in Florida? Florida is a no-fault worker’s compensation state, which means that the worker will be awarded benefits regardless of the degree to which their injury was their fault (unless the employee inflicted the injury on themselves). It’s important for employers and employees in Florida to understand the way that negligence is treated in worker’s compensation claims and personal injury claims. Continue reading this blog post for more information about how Florida’s status as a comparative negligence state can affect your ability to make worker’s compensation claims following an injury in the workplace and how the Florida worker’s comp insurance brokers from NPN Brokers can help you find the right policy.

The Difference Between Contributory Negligence and Comparative Negligence

Juries that are deciding on the outcome of personal injury case use one of two systems to determine whether or not—and how much—a plaintiff is able to receive compensation for their injuries. The two systems that are used are comparative negligence and contributory negligence. Most states in the United States use comparative negligence to decide on the damages that are awarded in personal injury cases, though a few still use the contributory negligence system.

Under the system of comparative negligence, the fault of both parties is taken into account before the amount of damages is awarded to the plaintiff. The total amount that the plaintiff can receive will be reduced by the percentage of fault that is shared by the plaintiff. When assessing liability, there are two types of comparative negligence that are used: pure comparative negligence and partial comparative negligence. According to pure comparative negligence, the plaintiff will recover the amount that is in accordance with their percentage of fault. According to partial comparative negligence, on the other hand, the plaintiff is prevented from recovering damages if their share of the fault exceeds a certain amount.

Under the system of contributory negligence, the plaintiff is prevented from receiving compensation for their injury if they have any fault. While assessing liability, a jury assigns a percentage of fault to both the plaintiff and defendant. If the plaintiff’s percentage of fault exceeds even 1%, then they will not be able to recover damages for their injury.

Almost every state in the United States assesses the liability of a personal injury case according to the system of comparative negligence or a modified version of comparative negligence. The only states in the United States that use contributory negligence are Alabama, Maryland, North Carolina, and Virginia; Washington, D.C. is also a contributive negligence jurisdiction.

Is Florida a Pure Comparative Negligence State?

Juries in Florida assess liability according to the pure comparative negligence standard. According to the standard of pure comparative negligence, a plaintiff’s recovery will be reduced by the percentage of fault that they are responsible for. For example, if you were responsible for 25 percent of the fault of an accident, the amount that you will be awarded will be reduced by 25 percent.

Florida’s standard of pure comparative negligence is among the most lenient in the United States and has been used a standard for assessing liability since the 1970s. The reasoning behind the adoption of this standard is that fault is not always entirely clear and that each party involved should be able to receive the amount that corresponds to their fault in an accident.

Is Florida No-Fault Worker’s Compensation State?

Florida’s standard of pure comparative negligence applies to personal injury cases. For worker’s compensation cases, however, Florida operates under a no-fault standard for Florida business worker’s compensation claims. This means that when an injured employee files a claim, the liability of the employee and employer is not assessed. Instead, the focus is placed on issuing compensation to the employee for their injury. Compensation in a viable worker’s compensation claim includes medical costs (medications, hospital stays and physician visits, and medical equipment) and a partial recovery of lost wages due to an inability to work; the families of workers that die while working may receive death benefits in a worker’s compensation policy. Compensation for pain and suffering are not included in worker’s compensation policies.

While employees in Florida can receive benefits through their worker’s compensation policy following an injury in their workplace, there are certain conditions and circumstances that prevent them from receiving benefits. If an employee inflicts an injury on themselves in an attempt to receive worker’s compensation benefits, they will be ineligible to receive them. Employees are also ineligible to receive benefits if they were intoxicated or under the influence of drugs at the time of their injury or were failing to abide by normal safety standards.

Employers are required to have worker’s compensation policies if they have a certain number of employees. If you are injured while you are working and your employer does not have a worker’s compensation policy for you, it is likely that you will be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against them. There are other penalties for not having worker’s compensation policies as well. With a personal injury lawsuit, the employee, as a plaintiff, will be able to receive compensation for their medical costs, past lost wages, loss of earning capacity, loss of enjoyment of life, and pain and suffering.

Get a Worker’s Compensation Policy for Your Company Today

Understanding liability in worker’s compensation claims doesn’t have to be complicated. Get in touch with NPN Brokers today for answers to any questions you may have about getting a worker’s compensation policy, the pricing of your policy, and how you can get a workers’ comp. quote. You can speak with a worker’s compensation policy broker from NPN Brokers today by calling (561) 990-3022.