Practice Area

Car Accident Lawyer

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You Pay Us Nothing Unless We Win Your Case

Larmoyeux & Bone has been successfully recovering compensation and protecting the financial future of car accident victims in West Palm Beach for decades. 


Our trial lawyers have over 70 years of combined experience winning millions of dollars for victims of auto accidents, just like you. 

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Why Do Car Accident Victims Choose Us?

We get results.​

you are not alone

We Win Car Accident Cases

We devote 100% of our practice to helping victims injured due to the negligent, reckless, and intentional actions of others.  Here’s a sample of the most common types of car accident claims that we routinely handle:

Types of Car Accident Claims

plan of action

know your rights & act

Accidents and injuries occur in the blink of an eye, and victims often aren’t even aware of the cause and that they are, in fact, victims with a viable personal injury claim.


They may not know what caused the accident and their injuries, but they know they need help getting medical treatment, dealing with insurance companies, and obtaining compensation for their injuries and medical bills.

If you have any doubt whether you are a victim with a viable personal injury claim, don’t decide on your own or let insurance companies convince you that you don’t have a claim and thus don’t need a lawyer. 


Don’t accidentally forfeit compensation for your injuries to which you and your family are legally entitled and desperately need.  

If in doubt, call us and we will: 


determine if you have a case

When you call our accident investigators will help determine if you have a case. 


Begin the legal process for recovery

We will begin the investigation, negotiation, mediation, or lawsuit. 


Fight For Your Rights

Most cases are settled before going to trial. If yours isn’t, we will fight your case in court. 

Contact Us Today For Your Free Case Evaluation

Not Sure If You Have A Claim? If In Doubt, Contact Us

important things you should know

Questions And Answers

While each personal injury case is unique, most cases typically involve the following basic steps.

Step 1: Determine if there’s a viable claim—after accepting the case, the personal injury lawyer will perform an initial investigation into the plaintiff’s injury to determine whether the facts and circumstances genuinely support a claim for damages.

Step 2: Demand letter—once a good-faith basis for a personal injury claim has been established, plaintiff’s lawyer sends a demand letter notifying the defendant’s insurance company of the claim, including a demand for a specified dollar amount to resolve the matter.

Step 3: Response and negotiation—upon receiving the demand letter, the insurance company will respond in one of three ways: (1) agree with the demand letter and promptly settle, (2) make a counteroffer and negotiate for an amount less than specified in the demand letter, or (3) deny the claim outright and refuse to pay any amount. Negotiating a settlement is the most common response, and most cases are resolved this way.


Step 4: Filing a lawsuit—if the parties can’t reach a settlement, the plaintiff’s lawyer files a lawsuit. During the pre-trial phase, the parties obtain evidence from each other, witnesses, and third parties in a process called “discovery.” The pre-trial phase can take several months or even years.


Step 5: Mediation—nearly all personal injury cases in Florida will be ordered to mediation by the court. Mediation is the process in which a neutral mediator facilitates discussion between the parties in an effort to resolve the case before going to trial. The parties can settle the case at any time, even after a lawsuit has been filed.


Step 6: Trial—if the parties can’t reach a settlement during mediation, the case goes to trial where a jury will generally determine liability and damage awards, if any.

Step 7: Appeal—a party who is unhappy with the final verdict can appeal, but there must be a legal basis for doing so, i.e., some material error that prevented a fair trial. Simply being unhappy with the outcome isn’t sufficient for an appeal.

The laws governing personal injury cases in Florida are extremely complex and highly specialized.  To ensure that your legal rights to full and fair compensation are adequately protected, you must have the assistance of an experienced local personal injury lawyer, especially for cases involving particularly complex legal issues such as wrongful death, medical malpractice, and catastrophic injuries. 


There are very strict and complicated filing deadlines that must be followed, or your case will not even be allowed to proceed, regardless of the actual merits of your case.  Similarly, for many types of personal injury claims, there are numerous legal technicalities and complexities in place that make successfully prosecuting a personal injury claim virtually impossible for anyone other than a highly experienced and knowledgeable personal injury lawyer. 


Various business and insurance interests have lobbied lawmakers aggressively over the years to get legislation enacted that often makes it difficult to hold the responsible parties and their insurance companies accountable for victims’ injuries and property damage they cause.  This is especially true when victims attempt to take on the at-fault parties and their insurance companies by themselves. 


Fortunately, our personal injury lawyers have the experience, knowledge, and resources to successfully navigate the complexities of Florida’s personal injury laws as well as the insurance claims process in order to obtain full and fair compensation for our clients.

We’ll provide an objective knowledge-driven, experience-based professional assessment of the viability of your personal injury claim at no cost to you.  You have absolutely nothing to lose and potentially an awful lot to gain by calling us today.


We’ll give you straight, simple answers to all your questions, including medical payment coverage, personal injuries, property damage, and lost income, as well as assist you with completing necessary paperwork and guide you every step of the way through the legal and insurance claims processes. 


And we do so with integrity, compassion, and understanding.

Regardless of who’s at fault for your car crash, it’s extremely important to contact an experienced car crash lawyer as soon as possible following your involvement in any type of automobile crash. 


Florida is a “no-fault” state This means that crash victims must turn to their own insurance company first to pay for their medical bills, lost earnings, and the costs incurred for replacement services, i.e., any service needed due to the loss of ability caused by the accident such as housekeeping.  This is true regardless of which party or parties actually caused or are deemed at-fault for the traffic crash.  


In general, crash victims must receive initial medical treatment by an authorized healthcare provider within 14 days after the crash


Failure to comply with this strict deadline along with the many other technical rules and deadlines governing Florida’s no-fault insurance claims process may result in a substantial reduction of benefits (from up to $10,000 reduced to a maximum of $2,500) or even complete denial of benefits.


Under Florida’s no-fault insurance system, the following types of healthcare providers are authorized to furnish initial medical care and services for purposes of filing a valid claim:  medical doctors, doctors of osteopathic medicine, chiropractors, hospitals, and emergency medical personnel. 


The various rules and requirements of Florida’s no-fault insurance system are incredibly complex and can be very confusing for crash victims.  As a result, crash victims are often denied benefits simply because they didn’t know or understand the rules, deadlines, and technical requirements. 


It’s essential to contact an experienced car crash lawyer as soon as possible after being involving in any type of motor vehicle crash.  Time is not on your side.  If you miss the 14-day deadline, you may permanently forfeit your legal rights to valuable medical, wage, and expense benefits available under Florida’s no-fault insurance system.


If you’ve been involved in a motor vehicle crash, contact us today!

Florida’s no-fault insurance law requires all motorists to carry a minimum of $10,000 in Personal Injury Protection (“PIP”) insurance. 


It’s this PIP insurance that covers all accident victims up to their policy limit no matter who is at-fault for the crash.  Your PIP insurance coverage also protects you when you’re a passenger in someone else’s motor vehicle, a pedestrian, or a bicyclist in the event you sustain injuries in a crash involving a motor vehicle. 


It’s extremely important to act promptly after your traffic accident.  In order to make a successful PIP claim, you must receive initial medical treatment by an authorized healthcare provider within 14 days after the traffic accident.  Failure to comply with this deadline along with the many other technical rules governing the PIP insurance claims process may result in a substantial reduction or even complete denial of benefits.


For purposes of PIP insurance claims, the following types of healthcare providers are authorized to furnish initial medical care and services:  medical doctors, doctors of osteopathic medicine, chiropractors, hospitals, and emergency medical personnel. 


The total cost of medical expenses and lost income can quickly exceed the legally required minimum PIP coverage limit even in cases involving relatively minor traffic accidents.  When PIP benefits are exhausted, you must then look towards other forms of insurance coverage, such as Medical Payments, Uninsured Motorists, etc., and possibly the at-fault parties involved in the crash. 


This interaction of the PIP claims process, other forms of insurance coverage, and the at-fault parties and their insurance companies results in a tremendous degree of complexity that easily overwhelms accident victims. 


That is why it’s vital to have an experienced auto accident lawyer working for you to guide you through the PIP insurance claims process and help ensure that you receive all the compensation to which you are entitled under the law.

Chris Larmoyeux and Bill Bone have devoted their over 70 years of combined legal experience to helping personal injury accident victims like you.

They are among the 1% of all lawyers who are Board Certified in Civil Trial Law by The Florida Bar, have been awarded the highest possible rating for Legal Ability and General Ethical Standards by Martindale-Hubbell—the preeminent independent lawyer rating service, and consistently earn annual inclusion in the entirely peer-review lawyer rating service Best Lawyers.  And, yes, they’ve won numerous $1 million+ recoveries for victims and their families. 

Chris Larmoyeux and Bill Bone are trial lawyers.


Not all personal injury lawyers are trial lawyers. Many personal injury lawyers have never taken a case to trial. There’s an extremely important distinction between lawyers who are ready, willing, and able to go to trial and those who won’t and settle 100% of their cases.

The ability and willingness to take on insurance companies at trial is a critical consideration when choosing a top personal injury lawyer, especially when very serious or catastrophic injuries are involved. When facing a lawyer who will actually litigate the case in court if necessary, insurance companies know that if their pretrial settlement offer is unreasonably low they risk having a jury award a much higher amount at trial. This helps keep settlement offers, for the most part, fair and reasonable.


In contrast, insurance companies are more willing to extend lowball settlement offers to those lawyers who will never go to trial (and there are many of them), and insurance companies know exactly who they are. Trials are expensive, time-consuming, and require high-caliber litigation skills for victory. Many lawyers lack the financial resources, patience, and/or legal ability to take insurance companies to court and win, so they make a career out of settling every single one of their cases.


But is this the type of personal injury lawyer you want and need representing you? Think about it—even if the final settlement offer is objectively and insultingly low, what’s the lawyer going to do? He or she may negotiate a slight increase but still way below full and fair value. Without the legitimate threat of going to trial, the insurance company knows that eventually the offer will be accepted.


This makes the insurance company happy because it saves money, and it makes the lawyer happy because he or she gets a portion of the settlement. It’ll likely even make the injured client happy because a settlement amount is received, but unbeknownst to the client, it’s likely a lot less than if he or she had a personal injury lawyer ready, willing, and able to go to trial.


Chris Larmoyeux and Bill Bone are trial lawyers. They are both experienced litigators who are ready, willing, and able to go to trial to fight for full and fair compensation for their clients.

Florida is a “no-fault” state

Yes!  Call your insurance company after any traffic accident, regardless of who’s at-fault. 


Florida is a so-called “no-fault” state.  This means that after a crash you’ll have to file a claim against your own insurance company, regardless of which party or parties are at-fault. 


You should also contact an experienced auto accident lawyer immediately to help guide you through the no-fault claims process.  It’s an extremely complex system comprised of a maze of highly technical rules, deadlines, and procedures that’s difficult for victims to successfully navigate on their own. 


An experienced auto accident lawyer will eliminate the stress and take the guesswork out of dealing with the insurance company and ensure you receive the maximum compensation to which you are entitled.


In a no-fault state like Florida, accident victims turn to their own insurance company first to pay for their medical bills, lost earnings, and the costs incurred for replacement services, i.e., any service needed due to the loss of ability caused by the accident such as housekeeping. 


This is true no matter which party or parties caused the traffic accident.   

Don’t try to take on insurance companies by yourself!  To receive full and fair compensation for your injuries and property damage, you need an experienced car accident lawyer on your side.


The likelihood of you receiving full and fair compensation is relatively low if you decide to take on the insurance companies by yourself.  There is a maze of incredibly complex legal rules and insurance claims procedures in place that make it very difficult for you to obtain everything to which you are entitled on your own. 


Insurance companies often want to make as much profit as they can.  They do this by paying out as little as possible to accident victims and their families.  That’s why they sometimes aggressively fight even obviously legitimate and deserving claims.    This is true for both victims’ own insurance company as well as those of the at-fault party or parties involved in the traffic accident. 


Victims who don’t have an experienced traffic accident lawyer representing them are at a disadvantage.  They generally don’t know how to realistically value their claim, how to maximize the amount of any settlement offer, and how best to prove their case.  Insurance companies and their lawyers take advantage of this inexperience and lack of knowledge to deny victims’ claim outright or pay a mere fraction of what they would have paid if an experienced traffic accident lawyer were representing the victims. 


Some insurance companies are notorious for establishing claims procedures and institutional mechanisms that make it as difficult as possible for victims to obtain fair compensation.  They have been known to deliberately make the claims process as complex and frustrating as they can in the hopes that victims will feel overwhelmed, give up, and accept lowball settlement offers.  This strategy is highly effective with respect to victims who don’t have an experienced traffic accident lawyer on their side.


To make the situation even worse, victims are faced with this seemingly impossible task at a time when they are likely at their most vulnerable and desperate point in their life.  Even under the best of circumstances, it is virtually impossible for the average person alone to successfully battle insurance companies and their army of lawyers and paid expert witnesses.  No matter how obviously deserving of compensation a victim may be, no insurance company is going to simply provide a fair and reasonable settlement offer to the victim merely because he or she deserves it. 


Don’t let the insurance companies decide what your claim is worth.  And don’t let them bully you into giving up valuable rights or accepting less than what you are entitled to under the law. 

Contact us today for a free initial consultation and case evaluation.  We have the experience, expertise, and resources to successfully take on the insurance companies for you. 

Yes! We’re here for you 24/7.

Our lawyers personally handle every case they agree to take and treat every client with compassion and understanding.  We don’t hand victims off to junior associates or recent law school grads once victims have entrusted their claim and hopes for the future to them. 

We understand the enormous trust clients place in them and would never do anything to violate the sanctity of that trust. 

We know that the aftermath of a personal injury accident is an incredibly traumatic and stressful time for you.  You may be suffering from agonizing, potentially life-threatening and life-altering physical, mental, and emotional injuries; facing the prospect of financial ruin; and experiencing a catastrophic disruption to your way of life. 


Your focus should be on your physical, mental, and emotional recovery, not dealing with medical bills and trying to navigate the complex maze of the insurance claims process and fighting for compensation from the at-fault party.


Thankfully, you don’t have to.  You focus on healing.  We’ll do all the work.  We handle the coordination of your medical bills, navigate the insurance claims process, and fight for the compensation you deserve.  We keep you updated and informed through the entire process, ensure you have all the information you need to make the necessary decisions, and advise you of any changes or new developments in your case. 


We firmly believe that consistent and timely communication with you is an essential part of our representation and critical for your peace of mind.     

Integrity, Compassion, & Understanding

If You Don’t Need a Lawyer, We’ll Tell You.  if We Can Help, We’ll Get Started on Your Claim Immediately.

"Board certified lawyers are Evaluated for Professionalism, Tested for Expertise.”

Car Accidents

Obtaining Compensation

Burden of Proof & Legal Liability

Traffic accidents typically occur because at least one driver was negligent.  Florida law imposes a duty of care on all drivers, which requires them to exercise due caution and ordinary and reasonable care to ensure the safety of others sharing the roads and surrounding areas. 


A driver is negligent when he or she fails to act with reasonable care, breaching the duty of care and causing injury to others. 


For an accident victim to recover compensation, he or she must establish that the other driver is legally liable for his or her injuries.  Establishing legal liability is often complex.  In general, a victim must show:

1. Duty

The other party owed the victim a legal duty of care;

2. Breach

The legal duty of care was breached by the other party’s actions;

3. Causation

The breach of the legal duty of care caused injury to the victim; and


As a result of the breach, the victim suffered damages due to the injury.

Therefore, if you’ve been seriously injured in an accident due to someone else’s reckless actions, you need an experienced car accident lawyer on your side to get the compensation you deserve. 

Car Accident

Additional Information

Common Types of Traffic Crashes

Traffic crashes can occur at any time and anywhere.  They are caused by a wide variety of factors, including distracted driving, drunk or impaired driving, speeding, reckless driving, failure to yield right-of-way, improper lane changes, following too closely, road rage, tire blowouts, weather conditions, and motor vehicle design defects. 


Our traffic crash lawyers have experience representing crash victims who have been injured in all types of motor vehicle crashes, including (but definitely not limited to):


  • Hit and Run—crashes in which a motorist leaves the scene before permitted by law enforcement authorities at the crash site. Doing so is a crime in Florida.   
  • Head-On—crashes in which the front ends of two vehicles collide with each other. They often result in fatalities or catastrophic injuries. 
  • Low Speed—although these are not the most serious types of crashes, they can still result in substantial property damage and bodily injury. These types of crashes typically occur in parking lots and other situations where impacts occur at speeds less than ten miles per hour. 
  • Multi-Vehicle Pile-Up—crashes involving multiple vehicles that generally occur on busy and congested roadways. They are one of the deadliest types of traffic crashes.  They typically result in a solid mass of crumpled vehicles that make escape and rescue difficult. Vehicles are often impacted multiple times, and assignment of fault can be extremely difficult in these types of crashes.
  • Rear-End—crashes that occur when one vehicle crashes into the vehicle immediately in front of it. Injuries to victims in the impacted vehicle are generally more severe than those suffered by occupants of the other vehicle due to injuries associated with whiplash (spraining of the neck caused by an abrupt backward and forward jerking motion of the head).
  • Side-Impact—crashes in which the side of a vehicle is impacted by the front or rear of another vehicle or fixed object. Occupants of the impacted vehicle often sustain very serious injuries in this type of crash.  Side-impact crashes are also referred to as ‘T-bone’ or ‘broadside’ crashes.   
  • Sideswipe—crashes occur when two vehicles that are parallel make contact and swipe each other. Generally, when both vehicles are traveling in the same direction and neither driver loses control, the vehicles suffer only minor cosmetic damage.  Crashes of this type often occur during lane changes or merging.
  • Single Vehicle—crashes involving only one vehicle are actually quite common. They occur in situations where a vehicle strikes an object such as a pole, tree, fire hydrant, wall, pedestrian, etc.  These crashes can result in significant property damage and bodily injuries. 
  • Vehicle Rollover—crashes occur when a vehicle flips over and comes to rest on its side or roof. They are generally caused by a sharp turn at high speed.  These crashes are especially dangerous and terrifying for occupants, and they often result in very serious injuries, including spinal cord damage and brain trauma. 

How Much is My Car Accident Claim Worth?

The answer to this question depends upon the facts and circumstances of each individual case. There are literally dozens of factors that contribute to the settlement value or jury award amount of a car-accident claim. It is almost never possible to provide a dollar value based on the initial set of facts or consultation – that’s why you need a skilled lawyer to help at the onset of case.

What someone else you know received has no bearing on your case. Every case is different. 

That is why it is so important to consult with an experienced and knowledgeable car-accident lawyer who focuses on this type of injury cases in order to protect your rights and provide a fact-based, experience-driven assessment of the potential value of your injury claim.


An experienced car-accident lawyer has the knowledge and experience to evaluate the many factors that determine the value of a case. In addition, an experienced lawyer knows what factors insurance companies and jurors use to value an injured person’s claim, which include:

● Injured person’s credibility
● Credibility of other parties
● Which party or parties responsible for the car crash
● Damage to vehicle
● Nature and extent of injuries
● Cost of medical care and what portion paid by insurance
● Whether injured party has to repay any money that insurance company paid for medical care
● Amount of injured party’s out-of-pocket expenses
● Amount of future medical expenses in the event future medical care is required
● Whether injured party lost income and expected to lose income in the future
● Whether injured party has any prior injuries or pre-existing medical conditions that were not caused by or aggravated by the crash
● Whether injured person is married
● Whether injured person has children
● How the injuries affect relationship with family members

Criminal and Civil Liability

Motor vehicle crashes can result in both criminal as well as civil proceedings against the offender.  For example, a reckless or drunk driver can face years in prison and thousands of dollars in fines if convicted in a criminal case.  In addition, if property has been damaged and/or people have been injured, the victim(s) can sue the driver for damages in a civil lawsuit. 

Whether a driver has been charged criminally, though, does not have any bearing on a victim’s right to file suit against the driver in civil court for damages since the two types of cases proceed independently of each other in entirely separate court systems. 


However, if the driver has been charged and convicted in criminal proceedings, that can serve as extremely compelling evidence in a civil case.  This is especially true in the case of a conviction since the burden of proof is much greater in a criminal case than a civil case.  On the other hand, if the driver has not been criminally charged, that fact alone does not necessarily mean that the victim does not have a viable or even strong case against the driver.  Remember, the burden of proof for a conviction in a criminal case is much greater than the burden necessary for victory in a civil case for damages. 


But this type of case comparison and analysis can be extremely complex and nuanced, so in order to protect your rights, you should consult with an experienced lawyer who specializes in these types of cases before making any decision to settle, pursue, or not pursue a civil case.  

Potential Damages Awarded in Traffic Crash Cases

Higher Damage Awards and Settlement Amounts for Certain Types of Cases


Damage awards in cases involving reckless behavior resulting in property damage and personal injury can be substantially greater than cases involving ordinary negligence.  They are generally described as ‘enhanced value’ cases.  These types of traffic crashes implicate a legal concept commonly referred to as ‘aggravated negligence,’ which frequently leads to much higher damage awards and settlement amounts for victims than accidents involving ordinary negligence.

Virtually all traffic accidents are the result of negligence by at least one of the parties involved. 


For example, when a driver rear-ends the vehicle in front because the driver was following too closely, his or her negligence was the cause of the accident.  But the driver’s behavior wasn’t an egregious and wanton disregard for the safety and welfare of others.  It was an instance of ordinary negligence, a momentary lapse in concentration or judgement.


In contrast, for example, in a situation where a driver is traveling 20+ mph over the speed limit, weaving in and out of traffic and cutting off other drivers in the process, passing other vehicles on the shoulder of the road, and eventually causes a serious crash, the driver’s behavior will likely be characterized as reckless.  As such, the degree of negligence involved will also likely be classified as ‘aggravated,’ meaning the damage award or settlement amount for the victims will likely be much higher than if the driver had been guilty of ordinary negligence.


Simply put, cases involving aggravated negligence will generally result in a sizable damage award or settlement amount.  Our traffic accident lawyers have been successfully handling aggravated negligence cases on behalf of clients for decades.  We have the experience and expertise to help you with your aggravated negligence claim.


Damage Awards and Settlement Amounts Depend on the Facts of the Case


Naturally, the specific types of damages and amounts that may be awarded depend upon the facts and circumstances of each individual case.  There are literally dozens of factors that contribute to the settlement value or jury award amount of an injury claim.  As such, what someone you know received or the amount an injured victim claims to have obtained in a law firm’s advertisement will have virtually no bearing on the actual value of your claim.  That is why it is so important to consult with an experienced and knowledgeable traffic accident lawyer in order to protect your rights and provide a fact-based, experience-driven assessment of the potential value of your injury or damage claim. 


Otherwise, without an objective and reasonable valuation of your case based on an experienced traffic accident lawyer’s expert opinion, you could unwittingly accept a settlement offer that is dramatically lower or holdout in vain for an offer that is unrealistically higher than the generally accepted valuation range of your case based on all the facts and circumstances involved.  In either scenario, the very real possibility exists that you will not be fairly and fully compensated, if at all, for your injuries, personal property, out-of-pocket expenses, and lost income.


Below is a list of the most common types of compensatory damages awarded in traffic crash cases.  As the name implies, compensatory damages are intended to compensate the injured party and help him or her return to the physical, emotional, and financial state he or she was in prior to the injury.  They are generally classified as either Noneconomic Damages or Economic Damages.


Noneconomic Damages


  • Bodily injury and associated pain and suffering
  • Disability and physical impairment
  • Disfigurement
  • Loss of capacity for the enjoyment of life
  • Mental anguish (if associated with a physical injury)


Economic Damages


  • Past lost income
  • Future lost income
  • Past medical expenses
  • Future medical expenses
  • Replacement value of damaged or lost personal property
  • Mileage (travel to medical appointments and pharmacy)


Punitive Damages

In some limited traffic accident cases, punitive damages may also be recovered in addition to any compensatory damages.  This type of damage award is generally available only when the offender’s conduct is especially reprehensible and reckless.  Punitive damages are typically available only when the offender acted with malice, willfulness, moral turpitude, or reckless indifference for the safety and welfare of others.  That is, punitive damages are not available in cases involving merely ordinary negligence, which is present in virtually every traffic accident.  The offender’s behavior must go beyond that of ordinary negligence before punitive damages are even a possibility.   


Some examples of behavior that can potentially lead to punitive damages include scenarios in which the offender:


  • Is charged with a crime in connection with the accident such as manslaughter
  • Drives at an extremely reckless speed
  • Fails to stop at the accident scene
  • Is voluntarily intoxicated
  • Knowingly fails to maintain vehicle in a reasonably safe condition that leads to the accident


The primary purpose of punitive damages is not to compensate the victim for any actual loss; rather, it is to punish and deter the offender’s particularly heinous behavior.  Although punitive damages are intended to punish the offender, their purpose is not to bankrupt him or her.  The offender’s financial situation is taken into consideration when determining the amount of punitive damages.  Under Florida law, for most personal injury cases, punitive damages are capped at either three times the amount of compensatory damages or $500,000, whichever is greater. 


It’s important for victims to understand that simply because punitive damages may be available to them in light of the facts involved they are not awarded automatically.  Victims must specifically plead (or request) and prove entitlement to them.  If you’ve been seriously injured in an accident due to the reckless actions of someone else, you need to have an experienced traffic accident lawyer on your side, so you receive everything to which you are entitled under the law. 

Could You Still Have a Claim for Compensation Even if You Were Partially At-Fault?

Yes! Florida follows the doctrine of modified comparative negligence with a 51% bar rule. F.S. § 768.81. This is a fault and damages allocation system. Florida law uses the term “comparative fault” rather than the more commonly used “comparative negligence.”

Under this system, fault is determined and apportioned among the parties involved (plaintiff and all defendants), and how much compensation the plaintiff can recover is limited by his or her relative share of fault for causing the accident that resulted in the injury. As a result, the plaintiff’s recovery is limited by his or her assigned percentage of fault. The 51% bar rule means that if the plaintiff’s allocated percentage of fault is 51% or greater, he or she is completely barred from recovering any damages. Plaintiffs in Florida must be 50% or less at fault for the accident that resulted in their injuries in order to recover damages.


For example, assume a plaintiff is determined to be 50% at fault, and the damage award is $100,000. The amount to which the plaintiff is entitled is $50,000 because the plaintiff’s allocated percentage share of fault, i.e., 50% or $50,000, is deducted from the total damage award. If the plaintiff were determined to be 51% at fault, he or she would by completely barred from recovering any damages because Florida applies the 51% bar rule. Thus, if the plaintiff is deemed 50% or less at fault for the accident, he or she is eligible to recover damages proportional to the amount the plaintiff is deemed not to be “at fault.” However, if the plaintiff is deemed 51% or more at fault for the accident, he or she is not eligible to recover any damages at all.


This law applies to all negligence actions but not to medical negligence claims.

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