Personal Injury Negligence


Personal Injury Negligence

Florida law defines negligence as the failure to use reasonable care, which is the care that a reasonably careful person would use under like circumstances. Negligence is doing something that a reasonably careful person would not do under like circumstances, or failing to do something that a reasonably careful person would do under like circumstances.

Generally, personal injury law requires that individuals exercise the same kind of “due care” that a reasonable person would exercise under the same circumstances. This is called the “reasonable man” or “reasonable person” standard.

Types of Negligence

When a lawsuit is brought for damages caused by an accident, the jury must decide who caused the accident. Sometimes more than one person may have been negligent, including the person who is bringing the lawsuit. Once the amount or percentage of negligence has been determined for each person, damages are awarded as determined by what system of fault the state follows.

There are four predominant systems used throughout the United States: “contributory negligence,” “pure comparative fault,” and “modified comparative fault,” which has two different modification options. There are also a handful of states that have their own unique systems of determining damage awards.

Florida follows the doctrine of pure comparative fault

In Florida, the jury decides how much fault should be allocated to each person responsible for an accident. The damages awarded are then apportioned to the defendant based upon their percentage of fault. The injured party will have their damages reduced by any amount of fault attributed to them. For example, if a person is found to be 20 percent at fault for causing his own injuries, then the other party or parties responsible will only have to pay 80 percent of the plaintiff’s damages. This is based on the percentage of fault assigned to each of them.

Insurance companies and their lawyers often times attempt to create arguments to support a claim of fault in the hope that this will reduce the amount that the insurance company will have to pay in settlement.

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    A person slips, falls and is injured on someone else’s property

    A provider of alcohol–either a social host or bartender–serves too many drinks to an underage or noticeably intoxicated individual who is then involved in an accident that causes injury to a third person

    Accidents caused by reckless or careless driving

    When the care provided by a doctor or other health care provider falls below the appropriate level of skill and knowledge reasonably exercised by others under like circumstances