If you suffered injuries in an accident, you might be curious about getting compensation for your losses and damages.
Florida law entitles injured victims to financial relief if they can establish that the other party’s negligence caused their harm.
But proving negligence can be tricky, especially if you have little to no knowledge of Florida law. And certain factors can complicate your ability to establish who is liable for your injuries.
For example, what if you are in an accident with a commercial vehicle? Would the driver be liable for your damages? Or would it be the company that the driver works for?
A seasoned Florida injury attorney can answer these and other questions regarding the elements of negligence, and how you can prove who is liable for your injuries.
What Is Negligence?
Negligence is the applicable theory of liability in most personal injury cases. Under common law, there are circumstances where individuals have a duty to prevent others from being harmed by their actions.
To prove negligence, your lawyer must gather evidence to show that the defendant fulfilled each element of negligence.
What Are the Four Elements of Negligence?
Your attorney must be able to prove the following 4 elements of negligence in Florida to win your case:
- Duty: The defendant owed the injured party a duty of care. A duty requires the defendant to do or not do something based on the relationship between the parties.
- Breach of Duty: The defendant breached this duty of care. Proving a breach of this duty could be done in various ways–like showing that the defendant caused the accident by speeding or driving through a red light.
- Causation: The defendant’s breach must have caused the victim’s injuries. Proving causation can be relatively straightforward, but if multiple parties are involved, it may be more challenging to prove any single person’s actions caused an injury.
- Damages: The victim must prove they suffered injuries or losses for which they seek compensation.
While establishing negligence appears straightforward, it is difficult without an experienced Florida injury attorney. Don’t miss out on the financial compensation you deserve by not hiring a lawyer to help you.
What Can I Recover Under Florida Negligence Law?
Florida law permits injured victims to recover compensatory damages in the form of economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages represent direct financial losses related to your injury and include the following:
- Medical expenses,
- Lost wages,
- Loss of future earnings, and
- Property damage.
Economic damages are easier to prove than non-economic damages because they are supported through tangible evidence like receipts, invoices, pay stubs, and other documentation.
Retaining all financial evidence related to your injury is vital to your claim and helps your attorney calculate an accurate economic damages demand.
Non-economic damages represent intangible losses related to the psychological and emotional consequences of your injury.
These damages include the following:
- Pain and suffering,
- Emotional distress,
- Loss of companionship, and
- Loss of enjoyment of life.
Due to their highly subjective nature, proving non-economic damages is challenging without a qualified attorney. Despite the difficulty in proving the existence of non-economic damages, their value should never be understated.
These awards are often significantly larger than economic damage awards, and they often compensate victims for losses that negatively impact their lives more deeply than direct financial losses.
What Is Comparative Negligence?
Florida negligence law operates under the comparative negligence rule. Comparative negligence means that the fault of both parties must be weighed in any personal injury case.
A personal injury case will be thrown out if the defendant is found to be less than 50% at fault for the plaintiff’s injuries.
However, if the defendant is more than 50% but less than 100% at fault, the plaintiff’s fault is deducted from the eventual settlement or judgment at trial.
Understanding how comparative negligence could affect your potential payout is vital to your case. Insurance companies and the liable party will attempt to hold you responsible for your own injuries.
A compelling argument on their behalf could result in a zero payout for your case. Don’t miss out on getting the compensation you need to move forward with your life.
Contact a Florida Personal Injury Lawyer for Help
For over 40 years, the attorneys at Barrett Nonni Homola & Ferraro have been providing energetic and aggressive legal representation to clients in their time of need.
Our honest and zealous advocacy for our clients has earned us recognition from leading legal publications, including Martindale-Hubbell, Super Lawyers Magazine, and The National Trial Lawyers.
We understand that clients are the heart and soul of our firm. When you come to us, we treat you with respect and give you direct attorney access throughout your case.