If you’ve been injured in an accident that wasn’t your fault, your rights are based upon Florida negligence elements. The term “elements” refers to the sets of facts you must prove to obtain monetary damages in a personal injury case. Negligence is the most common type of legal theory of liability in an accident claim, and it generally encompasses acts that are careless or reckless. Your Florida personal injury attorney can tell you how these cases work in more detail, but an overview may be useful.
Four Essential Elements of Negligence
Florida negligence laws incorporate four key sets of facts:
- Duty: You must show that the responsible party had a legal obligation to act with reasonable care, so as to not cause a risk of harm;
- Breach: You need to show that this person or entity breached this duty;
- Causation: You must present facts that demonstrate a link between the breach of the duty and the accident that caused your injuries; and,
- Damages: You must prove that you sustained losses because of your injuries.
Even if you’re successful in proving the essential elements in a personal injury case, there is a law that may affect your compensation. Florida has a comparative fault statute, which puts the focus on your own conduct in an accident. If your actions contributed to the incident, thereby causing your injuries, your monetary damages will be reduced in an amount that’s proportionate to your negligence.
An auto accident serves as an example of how comparative negligence works. If you were hurt in a crash because the other driver ran a red light, your compensation could be reduced if there’s evidence that you were also speeding at the time. Instead of receiving 100 percent of your monetary damages, the amount could be reduced to 80 percent.
Monetary Damages in a Negligence Case
Damages are a way of reimbursing you for the losses you suffer in an injury-causing accident. When you prove the four essential elements of negligence, you may be able to recover:
- Medical costs, including expenses related to surgery, outpatient care, physical therapy, pain medications, and others;
- Lost wages, if your injuries prevent you from working;
- Pain and suffering;
- Emotional distress;
- Losses based upon how your injuries affect your personal relationships, such as your spouse, children, and other loved ones;
- Diminished quality of life; and,
- Many more.
In many cases involving negligence, the responsible party will be covered by an insurance policy. For instance, most Florida business owners carry insurance to protect their companies from losses stemming from accidents that occur on the property. To recover compensation for a slip and fall incident, you’d file a claim with the insurance company.
Contact a Florida Personal Injury Lawyer
For more information on Florida negligence elements and related legal issues, please contact Emmanuel Sheppard & Condon. We can set up a free consultation to discuss the details and explain your legal remedies. Our team serves Florida’s Gulf Coast from our offices in Pensacola and Miramar Beach, and we look forward to hearing from you.