Proving Negligence: The Key to a Successful Personal Injury Claim
Suffering a life-altering injury is difficult enough to deal with on its own. However, when that injury is the result of someone else’s negligence or reckless disregard for your wellbeing, it makes the situation even more devastating. Victims of negligence should consult a South Florida personal injury attorney to learn more about filing a claim.
If you have been injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, there is a way to seek justice and financial support for your pain and suffering, medical bills, lost wages, and other financial distress. Here’s a look at how your attorney can work with you to prove negligence and win your personal injury claim.
Proving Negligence in a Florida Personal Injury Case
To establish that your injuries were the result of someone else’s negligence, your personal injury attorney will need to be able to prove two key elements. These two elements essentially establish that the accident that caused your injuries could have or should have been prevented.
1. Duty of Care
To start, you’ll need to show that the other party had a duty of care in preventing your injury. For example, each time a person gets behind the wheel of a car, they have a duty of care for all other drivers on the road. Each driver’s actions can put other drivers at risk, so disobeying posted traffic laws or engaging in distracted driving and causing an accident can be a violation of that person’s duty of care. Likewise, if a grocery store is notified of a spill, they don’t clean up that spill in a reasonable amount of time, and someone falls, then the store is not abiding by its duty of care.
2. Breach of Duty of Care
In Florida, duty of care uses what’s called the “reasonable person” standard. That means that people are expected to act as a reasonable individual would, given the circumstances. An example of a reasonable person operating a car would be that a reasonable person would not speed. From the grocery store example above, a reasonable person would send a team member immediately to clean up the spill to prevent anyone from slipping and falling.
How Negligence Affects Florida Auto Accidents
Although Florida is a no-fault state, that does not mean you cannot seek personal injury damages following a car accident. No-fault means that regardless of the accident circumstances, each driver involved in the accident will file their claim for medical expenses with their own car insurance company.
The 50 states vary in how they determine negligence, and Florida follows the pure comparative negligence method. This means that if a jury finds you partially at fault for causing an accident, your recovery for damages will be limited by that percentage, and conversely, you may be held responsible for the other party’s damages to that same percentage. For example, if you are speeding through an intersection but the other driver runs a red light, a jury might find you both equally at fault. This would therefore limit your ability to recover any compensation to 50% of what you might have been able to recover had you acted as a reasonable person and driven within the speed limit.
This means that it is crucial to collect information about the other drivers involved in the accident, witnesses, photographs of the accident scene and to get a police officer to document the crash. The more documentation you are able to collect, the easier it is to limit your liability in case of a lawsuit as well as protect your ability to sue if you sustain serious injuries.
Negligence and Premises Liability Cases
Some of the most common premises liability situations are slip and fall or trip and fall accidents. However, there are many different types of premises liability cases involving everything from dog bites to drowning in a pool to falling due to improper railings.
When you are on someone else’s property—whether commercial or residential property—that person has a duty of care to protect you. The extent of that duty depends on whether you were invited, passing through or even trespassing. If you attend a friend’s birthday barbeque on their deck and that deck has rotting wood that injures you, for example, the homeowner could be held responsible.
If you sustain injuries due to negligence on someone else’s property, try to take photos of the scene if you can and obtain information from witnesses. Photos may prove helpful in documenting the dangerous conditions in the area that were the direct cause of your injuries. These photos and witness accounts might be the key to winning your case.
When to Hire a South Florida Personal Injury Attorney
If you believe you have sustained an injury due to someone else’s negligence, you should contact a South Florida personal injury attorney as quickly as possible. Your attorney will begin working to prove your case and collect all supporting documentation and evidence that may help in court.
The sooner you get an attorney involved, the better, because the information related to the case will still be fresh in your mind. Contact Goldman & Daszkal today for a free consultation. We have decades of experience in premises liability, vehicle accident, and other personal injury cases, and we’re dedicated to treating each client with the same level of care and support. Let us know how we can help you today.