How Do I Prove Liability in a Florida Personal Injury Case?
Each personal injury case is different, from slip-and-fall cases to medical malpractice cases to car accident cases. However, they all share one thing in common: To collect compensation, you must prove the liability of a negligent party.
If you suffered a personal injury, contact a Florida personal injury attorney to discuss how to prove liability for your personal injury case. Here are the basics of what you need to know about personal injury liability to prepare for your case.
What Is Liability in a Personal Injury Case?
Liability in a personal injury case describes who is responsible for the accident that caused the injury.
Liability can apply to an individual, a business, or a government entity. For example, if you’re filing a personal injury claim for a truck accident, the driver could be liable, but the company they work for could also be liable.
Determine liability with the help of a Florida personal injury attorney. Having an experienced legal professional on your side is essential because they know not just how to determine liability but also how to prove it.
Proving Negligence in a Personal Injury Case in Florida
To prove liability in a personal injury case, you must prove that the other party’s actions were negligent. Negligence occurs when one party doesn’t adhere to what people consider reasonable care of others, which leads to an injury.
For negligence claims, first prove the other party owed you a duty of care. This will look different depending on the type of personal injury case at hand.
All drivers have a duty of care to the drivers they share the road with, and all medical professionals owe you a duty of care as their patient. Similarly, private property owners owe you a duty of care to keep their property in a reasonably safe condition and provide warnings of known dangerous conditions.
Next, there needs to be evidence that the liable party breached this duty. This could be a driver speeding through a light, a doctor giving you the wrong prescription, or a grocery store failing to put up a “wet floor” sign, causing slip-and-fall accidents.
To prove negligence, you have to prove that without their breach of duty, your accident wouldn’t have taken place. For wrongful death cases, you need to prove your loved one wouldn’t have died if not for that accident.
Finally, you need proof that you suffered losses, such as medical bills, property damage, and loss of wages, due to someone else’s negligence.
Arguing Negligence Per Se & Strict Liability
Negligence per se is a type of negligence that occurs when someone violates a law in place to keep the public safe. When you’re arguing negligence per se, you don’t need to prove a duty of care or a breach of duty since they willingly broke the law. What you still do need to provide for negligence per se is that the broken law was enacted to protect a certain group of persons, that the injury you suffered is of a similar type that the broken law was intended to prevent, and that the failure to comply with the law caused your injuries. In a case involving negligence per se, there is a conclusive presumption that the party who broke the law is deemed negligent. For example, negligence per se applies to cases involving parties who were injured by a driver under the influence of alcohol or by a business that didn’t use proper safety equipment.
Similar to negligence per se, strict liability also applies where one fails to comply with a statute or law. One example can be found in Florida’s Dog Bite Statute, which states that dog owners can be held strictly liable when their dog bites a person and causes an injury. Under the theory of strict liability, there is a presumption of liability on the party who broke the law. That means that the owner of a dog who bit another and caused injuries is deemed to have breached the duty of care owed to others and thereby acted in negligence.
What Happens if You’re Partially at Fault?
In personal injury cases, the other party will try to argue you’re partially at fault. Even if this is true, Florida is a no-fault state. This means you could qualify for compensation settlements for car accidents regardless of fault.
Additionally, being partially at fault doesn’t disqualify you from making a personal injury claim. The court will determine your portion of fault and will reduce your damages by that amount.
Work With Experienced Personal Injury Attorneys to Prove Liability
If you’re trying to prove liability for a personal injury case, a Florida personal injury attorney from Warner & Fitzmartin can help. Contact us at (561) 803-0167 to schedule a free initial consultation.