What Does Negligence Mean, Everything You Need To Know
We often hear the term negligence in legal practices, but what does negligence mean? If you wish to learn more, this post will simplify what the concept is all about. Here at Warner & Warner, we want to help victims and, at the same time, educate people about legal terms and practices.
When we talk about negligence, this is when a party fails to exercise the degree of reasonable care that is expected from them. As a result, a person was harmed. This serves as a legal basis for several personal injury cases, including slip and falls, medical malpractice and car accidents.
The Statute of Limitations
There is always a time limit when filing lawsuits based on negligence. In legal terms, this is referred to as the statute of limitations. The timeline depends on the type of negligence but it’s usually four years in Florida. If you believe you or someone close to you is a victim, better act on it immediately. Otherwise, you might not be able to get the compensation you deserve.
Elements of a Negligence Case
To be able to win a negligence case, a plaintiff must prove that all the elements are present. To reach a verdict, juries will have to study, understand and compare testimony and evidence to see if the elements were satisfied.
A duty happens when the law recognizes a relationship between the defendant and the plaintiff, which requires the defendant to act in a specific manner toward the plaintiff. An example is the elderly and health practitioners in a nursing home.
Allow us to give you another concrete example.
If a defendant was loading bags of cement onto a truck and one of the bags fell off the truck onto another person, we need to understand if the defendant owed a duty. The answer depends on the situation.
If the truck is parked in a public place and near a sidewalk, the court might find that the defendant owed duty to the injured person. But the case would be different if the accident happened on private property, the defendant was not aware of the person’s presence, and the plaintiff trespassed.
Breach of Duty
Your injury lawyer must prove that the negligent party breached their duty to the other person. This happens when the defendant did not exercise reasonable care in accomplishing or fulfilling their duty.
Cause in Fact
It must be proven that the defendant’s actions caused the plaintiff’s injury. This is referred to as the “but-for” causation.
When we talk about the proximate cause, this is the scope of the defendant’s responsibility in the case. A defendant is only responsible for the harm that they could have foreseen. However, if the damages are outside their scope, it’s hard for the plaintiff to prove that the defendant’s actions were the proximate cause of the damage or injury.
In a negligence case, the plaintiff must prove a legally recognized harm. This is often in the form of physical injury. Remember that it isn’t enough that the defendant did not exercise reasonable care. It must result in actual damages.
Pure Comparative Negligence
Take note that the degree of a party’s negligence is important in personal injury cases. In Florida, the state acknowledges that more than one party could contribute to the damage or injury. There are different scenarios that need to be clarified. For example, who will be liable if more than one party is involved in the negligence case? What if the plaintiff is partially at fault?
This is where pure comparative negligence comes in. Here, a plaintiff can still get compensated even if they are partially at fault. However, the amount will be reduced accordingly.
The Reasonable Person in a Negligence Case
Do you wonder what separates a common accident from negligence? The answer is the standard of care required in the situation. If a person fails to follow the standard of care, they might be liable for the injuries. Here’s how we can illustrate it.
All motorists must obey the traffic rules and regulations. However, when a person has poor eyesight, does not bring their eyeglasses and hits a pedestrian, he will be considered negligent.
Punishment for Negligence in Personal Injury Cases
A defendant can be ordered to pay for various damages to the plaintiff, depending on the case. These include the following:
Economic Compensatory Damages
This is awarded to the injured plaintiff for financial losses due to the defendant’s negligence. This covers the medical bills, lost wages and even impaired earning potential.
Non-Economic Compensatory Damages
As the name suggests, this is compensation for non-financial losses. These include loss of enjoyment of life and compensation for pain and suffering.
The objective of punitive damage is to prevent the defendant and others from committing the same behavior in the future.
In other states, there are caps as to how much a person can recover from the damage. However, the case is different in Florida. There are no damage caps on compensatory damages, but there is a limit one can recover from punitive damages. It’s best to seek advice from the best negligence lawyers in Florida to understand the complexities of your case.
How To Find the Right Negligence Lawyers in Florida
It is critical that you work with the top negligence lawyers to get the right compensation. Apart from being knowledgeable about the laws, your negligence attorney must have a passion for helping those in need. Likewise, look for a lawyer whom you can put your 100% trust. You need to be able to work with them comfortably.
Looking for referrals and recommendations from your circle will always work best. But apart from that, always do your due diligence and research the law firm’s track record. People nowadays are readily available to share their experiences when working with a law firm. A quick search online can help you.
Hire the Best Negligence Lawyers in Orlando, Florida
Warner & Warner law firm has the best negligence lawyers in Orlando, Florida. Reach out to us and we’ll help you understand your case. We are dedicated to bringing justice to our clients and we’ll use our extensive knowledge and experience to get what you deserve. For a free case review, call us at 321 341 6829 or send an email through our contact form.