How much money they’ll receive in a successful car accident settlement is a main question on the minds of most victims. If you’ve secured a settlement to cover your damages after a Tampa crash, the hard part is over. Now all that’s left is to calculate the portion of the settlement you’ll actually receive, after all fees and reductions are complete. Settlement negotiations can be complex, as can receiving what the insurance company owes you. Always trust a Tampa lawyer for car accident claim settlement securement.
Reduce Your Settlement by Your Percentage of Fault
Florida uses a pure comparative negligence rule when it comes to determining fault and settlement amounts for injured parties. This means the courts will reduce your settlement award by a dollar amount equivalent to your percentage of fault for the incident. Since Florida abides by a “pure” comparative negligence law, you can still recover damages even if you’re 99% at fault. To figure out what percentage of a total settlement award you will receive, you’ll have to do a bit of math:
- Prove the other party’s fault. Before you start calculating damages, focus on minimizing your percentage of fault. To maximize your amount of compensation, you will need to establish the defendant’s negligence. You will need to prove that the defendant owed you a duty, breached this duty, caused your accident, and you suffered injuries. An attorney can help you keep your percentage of fault as low as possible.
- Learn your assigned percentage of fault. At the time of the final judgment, the judge will tell you the percentage the courts find you at fault for causing an accident. It will be a percentage between 0-99% (if you’re 100% at fault, you can’t recover anything). The courts will decide your amount of fault based on an investigation of the incident and the arguments from both attorneys.
- Find out the total amount of damages awarded. The final judgment will also state the total monetary recovery the judge and jury are awarding you for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, property damage, and other losses. This will be a dollar amount that represents the full value of recovery awarded.
- Multiply your percentage of fault by the total award amount. (It makes the math easier if you convert your percentage of fault into a decimal amount first.) Multiply these two numbers to come up with the amount you won’t be receiving from the award. For example, if you’re 20% at fault and the total award is $100,000, you will not be receiving $20,000 of the award amount.
- Subtract the amount you will not get from the total award amount. Take the dollar amount you calculated as your portion of fault and subtract it from the total award amount. In the example, it would look like this: $100,000-$20,000=$80,000, where you would be receiving $80,000. This is the final amount you can take home after the courts reduce your award by your percentage of fault.
Many states abide by modified comparative negligence laws, in which a plaintiff loses his or her right to recover anything if the courts find him/her a certain percentage of fault (usually from 49% to 51%).
In Florida, this is not the case. You are still eligible to receive a reduced award as long as you are less than 100% at fault for the accident. The better your attorney, the better your chances of receiving maximum compensation in a pure comparative negligence state.
Subtract Legal Fees, Unpaid Liens, and Other Costs
Once you have the amount the Florida courts will award you, it’s time to subtract the costs of bringing your claim. At Bulluck Law Group, you won’t have to pay us anything if we don’t secure you a money award. If we do win your case, we’ll take our attorney’s fees from your settlement, so you don’t have to pay out of your own pocket.
We’ll take a previously agreed-upon percentage of the settlement or jury verdict. Our firm is always fair, and puts the future of the client first. Our fees are reasonable and competitive in Tampa Bay.
In some claims, the courts will give an injured plaintiff an award to cover attorney’s fees and court costs. In this case, the defendant will pay these amounts for you. Otherwise, you will need to subtract these costs from your award amount.
Next, you will need to pay any liens that arose because of your personal injury. A “lien” is money you owe to someone else that you did not pay while your case was in progress. You might owe a health insurance company, medical provider, loan provider, or other business that provided you benefits.
For more information about how much of a settlement amount you’ll take home, contact Bulluck Law Group. We charge zero upfront and are always honest about how we handle and bill claims. Our experienced car accident lawyers can help you get the most for your claim in Tampa.
We also invite you to browse through our Comprehensive Guide to Florida Car Accidents for a deeper dive on questions relating to this topic.