What Types of Negligence May Be Relevant in My Personal Injury Case
Too many accident victims make the mistake of assuming they have a personal injury case just because they sustained injuries. However, to have a successful lawsuit, you must prove the other party was negligent in their actions. Understanding what negligence is and the types of negligence relevant to your injury case will be vital in its success.
Proving negligence on your own may be difficult, so contacting an attorney to represent you will be beneficial. The Umansky Law Firm is a top source of legal representation in Central Florida. Our injury attorneys will explain your legal rights and fight to hold the responsible party accountable for their actions.
What Is Negligence?
In its essence, negligence is the failure to use reasonable care. The following elements must be present to prove negligence:
- Duty of care: Your attorney must prove that the defendant owed the injured victim a duty of care. It could include a store owner’s responsibility to keep their premises safe or a driver’s duty to use caution when driving.
- Breach of duty: If a defendant breaches their duty of care to the plaintiff by not exercising reasonable care, they might be liable for any damages. Examples may include a driver texting behind the wheel or a store manager failing to put a wet floor sign on slick floors.
- Cause in fact: You must show that the defendant’s breach of duty was the cause of your injuries. The plaintiff must also show that their injuries would not have otherwise happened if the defendant acted differently.
- Proximate cause: This shows that the injury was not a direct result of the incident but still a result of the accident. For example, a truck hits a house, and falling plaster injures the homeowner. Their injuries resulted from the plaster, but only because the truck hit the house. Therefore, the truck may be the proximate cause.
- Damages: There have to be physical injuries or property damage resulting from the accident to prove negligence. It could be broken bones from a slip and fall accident or a totaled car from an automobile crash.
Understanding Comparative Negligence in Florida Cases
Florida now follows modified comparative negligence. It allows the injured party to collect financial compensation proportional to their percentage of fault for the accident. Say another vehicle hit you because they ran a red light. However, you were texting. Even though the other driver was a primary cause of the accident, a court may determine that you were also 30% responsible for the crash. In this instance, you may collect up to 70% of your damages. Your right to damages ends if you are identified as having more than 50% fault.
What Is Gross Negligence?
When a plaintiff’s actions show a complete lack of regard for others’ safety or if their actions were intentional, they might be guilty of gross negligence. This is different from ordinary negligence, where the individual did not intend to cause harm. In these cases, courts typically award the defendant with punitive damages. These damages do not compensate victims for any particular loss; instead, they are used to punish the defendant and deter similar behavior in the future.
Vicarious Negligence in Personal Injury Cases
Employers might be liable when an employee’s negligence occurs within their scope of work. If an employee causes harm to another, meeting all the negligence elements, the victim might be able to sue the company vicariously. For example, a worker was driving to a meeting but was speeding and caused an accident. Since they were traveling to a work event, you might be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against their employer. However, the law does not consider what is and is not within the scope of employment, so hiring an attorney will be beneficial for these types of cases.
Experienced Personal Injury Attorneys
If you sustained injuries from an accident that was not your fault, contact the personal injury attorneys at The Umansky Law Firm. We know that this is a challenging time for you, so allow us to take the stress off your shoulders. Our attorneys will launch a thorough investigation into the accident, looking to prove that the five negligence elements were present. We will also negotiate with insurers to ensure you receive fair compensation for your injuries. Call our office or complete our contact form to schedule a free consultation.