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Negligence Under Florida Law

Every state has different laws that relate to negligence and personal injury cases. If a personal injury takes place in or around the Tampa area, it is important to have an attorney on your side who understands Florida negligence laws.

Negligence is the legal concept at the heart of many types of personal injury cases. In order for an injured party to recover in a legal claim, they must prove the following to achieve a finding of negligence:

  • A person was expected to exercise a certain degree of care in the situation;
  • The person failed to exercise that degree of care;
  • The breach of the duty of care caused injury to the victim; and
  • The victim sustained losses as a result of the injury.

There is an entire section of Florida laws regarding negligence and legal issues that may arise in personal injury cases. The following are some legal issues that are addressed in Florida laws regarding negligence.

Comparative Fault

Some defendants try to avoid liability by claiming the injured plaintiff was also at fault in the accident. Fortunately for victims, partial liability does not bar them from recovering for all of their losses. Florida law follows the theory of comparative fault, which means that victims can still obtain some compensation even if they were also negligent in causing the accident. The court will determine the percentage of fault of each party and will adjust recovery based on the apportionment of fault.

For example, consider if one driver ran a red light and hit another car, then claimed that the other driver was texting and therefore did not avoid the collision. The fault in the accident is apportioned as follows:

  • 70 percent to the driver who ran the red light; and
  • 30 percent to the driver who was texting.

Because the plaintiff was deemed to be 30 percent at fault, their recovery will be reduced by 30 percent. However, recovering for 70 percent of losses is better than recovering nothing.

Negligence Per Se

Another legal principle regarding negligence is that of “negligence per se.” In a regular personal injury case, an injured plaintiff has to present evidence to sufficiently prove negligence. However, if the defendant violated a penal safety law that is not traffic-related, they may be found automatically negligent–or “negligent per se.” This alleviates the burden on the plaintiff of proving negligence and they instead simply have to prove the violation of the law and prove the amount of their damages.

There are many additional negligence laws in Florida related to many different issues that may arise in different cases. Such issues can include the Good Samaritan Act, which protects individuals who act in an emergency situation. Other laws also give family members the right to sue for wrongful death if another party’s negligence resulting in the death of a loved one. Because of the many different Florida laws that may be relevant to a case, it is important to have a lawyer who thoroughly understands these laws handling any case involving negligence.

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