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Can you claim compensation for a wreck if you were speeding?

You were heading home from work and you were -- admittedly -- speeding a little. The weather was great, the roads looked free of traffic and you were just anxious to be home. Then, a driver on a cross street shot through a red light and slammed into the side of your vehicle.

Now, you're injured and unable to work and you'd like to file a claim for compensation. But you're worried that the fact you were speeding when the wreck occurred disqualifies your claim. What should you do?

First of all, it's important to understand that Florida follows the rule of comparative negligence. If you're found to be partially at fault for your own injuries, any compensation you may be due will be reduced in direct proportion to your percentage of liability. For example, if you suffer $100,000 worth of damages in an accident but the court finds you 10% at fault for your injuries, then you'd only receive $90,000 in compensation. That's still better than having to carry all of the losses yourself.

In addition, the fact that you were speeding may or may not actually have any bearing on your injuries. The court has to look at the full situation before coming to any conclusions. Because the driver that hit you ran a red light, it's possible that you could have done nothing to prevent the accident in which you were injured. Since you were T-boned by the other driver, your speed might have had nothing to do with worsening your injuries.

Ultimately, you shouldn't assume that a mistake on your part limits your right to file a claim for your injuries against another negligent party. Talk to an attorney about the specifics of your case and let them help you understand what steps to take next.

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