Florida Personal Injury Cases and Fabre DefendantsTampa Bay Legal News
Motor vehicle accidents are usually very complex, and a plaintiff is not always able to name every single negligent person in a lawsuit. Under these circumstances, named defendants are able to shift some of the blame to one of these nameless parties, legally termed a Fabre defendant.
Florida law permits jurors to allocate some of the fault to a Fabre defendant in order to avoid unjustly blaming a defendant simply because they were named.
The Fabre doctrine is able to have a notable effect on the result of a negligence case. If the negligent person is able to successfully name a Fabre defendant, it could decrease a claimant’s overall financial compensation. Consequently, it is essential to understand the role of a Fabre defendant in a lawsuit.
In a lawsuit, the claimant specifically names at least one defendant from whom they are seeking financial compensation. The Fabre defendant is a third party who could be partly liable for the claimant’s injuries but was not named in the suit, presumably because they were unaware of the Fabre defendant’s involvement.
The phrase “Fabre defendant” originated from the 1993 case Fabre v. Marin wherein the claimant, Marin, sustained injuries in a car accident while riding in a vehicle driven by her husband. Marin filed a claim against the Fabre family, claiming they were liable for the crash because they made a negligent lane change. In spite of a jury finding Marin’s husband 50% at fault, the court didn’t decrease the Fabres’ liability.
As a result, the ruling held the Fabres accountable for well over their fair share of damages. The Florida Supreme Court formed the Fabre Doctrine to fix this type of unfairness. Under Fabre, juries may assign liability to unidentified Fabre defendants.
Apportioning Liability in Florida
In a car crash accident or other case dealing with negligence, the jury has to establish the level of liability for each person involved. Typically, a jury reveals liability in terms of what percentage each person contributed to the incident.
In terms of damages, every state follows one of many different paradigms for assigning liability. Florida follows the pure negligence model, meaning a claimant is still able to recover some damages even if they were partly liable. Their percentage of fault will, however, directly impact their overall financial recovery.
In a personal injury case, your Tampa personal injury attorney will not even begin to negotiate a settlement on your behalf until the full extent of your accident-related injuries has been determined.
Navigating your way through a Florida personal injury claim after you have sustained a critical injury can be a lot to deal with. Insurance carriers often try to take advantage of victims in this situation and offer a settlement that is much smaller than the true value of your injury claim. The personal injury attorneys here at Fulgencio Law in Tampa handle personal injury claims every day. They have a proven track record of success and years of experience defending the rights of the injured.
If you or a member of your family were injured in an accident that was caused by someone else’s reckless or careless actions, we urge you to reach out to our Tampa personal injury offices by calling (813) 463-0123 and schedule a free, no-obligation consultation to find out what legal options are available to you and how we can help you obtain financial compensation for your accident-related damages.