Florida is a comparative fault state. In evaluating an injury claim, the actions of both the “wrongdoer” and the victim must be considered. If it can be proved the victim shared some responsibility or fault leading to the injury, his or her percentage of fault will reduce the claim against the wrongdoer by that percentage. For example, if it can be proved the victim was 25% responsible for the accident, or was comparatively negligent, it would reduce the value of his or her claim by 25%.
How Does Comparative Fault Work Regarding Children?
Under Florida law, any child under the age of six is considered incapable of being comparatively negligent. Thus in a case involving a child under the age of six, there is no question of comparative fault. If a child is older than six then the issue of comparative fault can be argued. The issue of comparative fault becomes less clear if a child is approaching their sixth birthday. Sometimes a jury will decide that a child just shy of their sixth birthday can be found comparatively negligent.
A jury will consider the degree of care children of the same age, mental capacity, intelligence, training, and experience would display under similar circumstances. A jury must decide if the minor was able to appreciate the consequences of their actions and should know better than to act how they did.
Each state sets their own standards for when a child may be found at fault for their actions. There are many factors to consider when deciding the comparative fault of a child. Every child develops at different rates and their individual maturity must be taken into account. It is important to hire an experienced attorney who understands the nuances of comparative fault and how it varies for children. If your child was injured and you have any questions about how Florida Comparative Fault law may impact your child’s recovery, please give us a call at 727-446-0840.