Types of Negligence in Florida Personal Injury Cases
Personal injuries often happen due to negligence on the part of others involved. Our Orlando personal injury attorneys explain the different types of negligence that can apply in Florida personal injury cases and how each type can impact the amount of compensation you may be entitled to.
What is negligence in a personal injury case?
Negligence is generally defined as taking actions that a reasonable person would otherwise not take or failing to take reasonable precautions, resulting in personal injuries. When someone acts in a negligent manner, they can be held liable for damages you suffer as a result.
In seeking compensation through a Florida personal injury lawsuit, there are four elements of negligence our Orlando personal injury attorneys must prove:
- The at-fault party owed you a duty of reasonable care;
- They breached this duty as a result of their actions or inactions;
- This breach of duty is the proximate cause of your personal injuries;
- That you suffered tangible losses as a result.
Tangible losses are referred to as economic damages in a personal injury lawsuit and include medical expenses, lost wages, and property damages. Once you prove tangible losses, you may be entitled to non-economic damages, including compensation for pain, suffering, and any loss of enjoyment in life your injuries cause.
What is comparative negligence?
Even if you are partially at fault for an accident resulting in personal injuries in Orlando, you may still be entitled to seek compensation under the legal theory of comparative negligence.
What is comparative negligence? Otherwise referred to as comparative or contributory fault under Section 768.81 of the Florida Statutes, it allows you to file a negligence action even if you share a portion of the blame. Based on evidence presented, the judge or jury will apportion a percentage of blame to each party. The percentage you are determined to be at fault reduces the amount of compensation you may receive. For example, if your damages total $100,000 but you are determined to be 40 percent responsible, you may be entitled to only 60 percent, or $60,000.
In personal injury lawsuits involving comparative or contributory negligence, there are two common variables that could impact your rights to compensation; pure comparative and modified comparative negligence.
- What is pure comparative negligence? In states that follow the pure comparative negligence rule, you are entitled to compensation based on the percentage at which you are at fault, even if you bear the brunt of responsibility for your accident or injuries.
- What is modified comparative negligence? States that practice modified comparative negligence also apportion blame by percentages but you must be less than 50 or 51 percent responsible for your injuries (depending on the particular state) in order to seek compensation.
Fortunately, Florida courts abide by the pure comparative negligence rule. This means that even if you are 99 percent responsible for your injuries, you may still be entitled to compensation in a claim.
What is gross negligence?
Gross negligence is another variable in Florida personal injury cases that could impact the amount of compensation you can be entitled to. Gross negligence refers to actions the at-fault party takes that show a willful disregard for others or an indifference to their life, safety, or rights. Examples of gross negligence include:
- Car accidents in which the driver has a high blood alcohol content (BAC) level or was traveling at two or three times the speed limit;
- Premises liability accidents in which failure to make obvious repairs led to a ceiling or balcony collapse;
- Product liability cases in which manufacturers fail to pull dangerous products from shelves or warn customers of side effects, such as in Zantac cancer claims.
- Workplace accidents in which employers willfully expose workers to hazardous substances, such as in claims involving asbestos exposure.
When someone acts with gross negligence, it can increase the amount of personal injury damages in Florida. Punitive damages are designed to punish the at-fault party and may equal up to three times the total amount of other damages awarded or $500,000, whichever amount is greater.
How do you prove these types of negligence?
To prove these types of negligence in Florida personal injury cases, you need an experienced Orlando personal injury attorney who can build a strong legal strategy and gather the evidence needed. This includes:
- Copies of accidents reports;
- Statements from eyewitnesses;
- Photos or video evidence from the scene;
- Testimony from accident reconstruction experts.
You can help build your case by seeking medical care immediately after an accident, attending all follow-up visits, and following your doctor’s instructions regarding work or activity restrictions.
Our Orlando injury lawyers can help prove all applicable types of negligence in your case
With over 35 years of experience representing injured victims across Florida, the Orlando injury lawyers at Pardy & Rodriguez, P.A. can help you prove all applicable types of negligence in your personal injury claim. We are a Firm Dedicated To You so give us a call or contact us online to request a free consultation today.