If one person is at fault in an automobile accident, the person whose negligence caused the accident typically pays for the resulting damage. In automobile accidents where both parties are at fault, negligence is distributed between the parties based on the states method of determining fault.
In the United States, one of two methods is used to determine who is at fault in an automobile accident: comparative negligence or contributory negligence. In both instances, fault is determined by the insurance company adjustors based upon further investigation.
In states that use comparative negligence, such as Florida, each party is determined to be a certain percentage at fault for the accident, and drivers are entitled to claims according to those percentages. This form of comparative negligence is known as pure comparative negligence. A total of thirteen states (including Florida) use pure comparative negligence to determine fault in automobile accidents.
The following is an example of how pure comparative negligence would apply:
Assume driver A and driver B are in an accident, and it is determined that driver A was 20% at fault and driver B was 80% at fault. Driver A would be responsible for 20% of their own damage and driver B would be responsible for the remaining 80% of damage for driver A. Driver B would also be responsible for 80% of their own damages, and driver A would be responsible for the remaining 20% of driver B’s damage.