When someone acts in a careless way, causing an injury to another person, he or she will be legally liable for any resulting harm. This is under the legal principle of “negligence”. In most of the disputes involving an accident or injury, this basis for assessing and determining fault is used during settlement negotiations and up through a trial in a personal injury case.
The claim of negligence is one of the most common types of personal injury lawsuits. Negligence is a situation in which a person acts in a careless manner that result in someone else getting hurt or property is damaged. It can often be a difficult area of law to define. This is mainly because it involves a legal analysis of the elements of negligence since they relate to the facts of a particular case.
Negligence can be defined as a failure to take reasonable care to avoid causing injury or loss to another person. There are four steps in proving negligence. The standard of care for a health professional is that expected of the reasonably competent practitioner of that profession. The actions of the health professional will be compared with the standard. The court, not the professional, sets the standard, so even if a particular practice is common or accepted by other practitioners, it may still be negligent. Negligence can occur in any aspect of professional practice, whether history taking, advice, examination, testing or failing to test, reporting and acting on results of tests, or treatment. The standard is one of reasonable care, not of perfection. The court will decide having regard to all the circumstances whether the health professional has been negligent. Negligence is different from mistake or error of judgment. The fact that a risk of treatment eventuated, or that a desired medical outcome was not achieved, does not necessarily establish negligence.
The plaintiff needs to prove the following four elements to win a negligence case:
Legal Duty: It was the legal duty of the defendant towards the plaintiff under the circumstances.
Breach of Legal duty: The defendant breached that legal duty by acting or failing to act in a certain way
Causation of injury: It was the defendant’s actions or lack of action that actually caused the plaintiff’s injury.
Damages caused: The plaintiff was harmed or injured directly or indirectly by the defendant’s actions.
At the time of assessing a negligence claim, first and foremost the plaintiff needs to see whether or not the defendant owed him or her legal duty of care. The relationship between the plaintiff and defendant might create a legal duty in certain circumstances. Also, the defendant might owe the plaintiff a legal duty to act with reasonable care in a certain situation.
The court then checks whether the defendant breached this duty by doing that a reasonably prudent person would do under the same circumstances. In this context, a “reasonably prudent person” refers to a legal standard that represents how the average person would responsibly act in a certain situation. The defendant is likely to be found negligent if the average person, knowing what the defendant knew at the time, would have known that someone might have been injured as a result of his or her actions and would have acted differently than the defendant at the same time.
As per the third element, the plaintiff shows that the defendant’s negligence actually caused his or her injury. The plaintiff can get his or her recovery if the negligence causes the injury.
It might be that the defendant could have anticipated that his or her actions might cause an injury. The injury in this case might be deemed unforeseeable and it is likely for the defendant to be found liable.
In a negligence case, for damages to be taken into account, the court needs to be able to compensate the plaintiff for his or her injury. This is usually through monetary compensation for expenses like medical care or property repair.
When you or a loved one has been injured due to someone else’s negligence, you should consider pursuing a potential legal claim. You should consult with a personal injury lawyer to learn more about your claim. When you have a genuine and experienced attorney, you can avail a free evaluation of your case.
The laws that govern negligence in Florida are usually found in Chapter 768 of the Florida Statutes. Damages are compensation that is provided to a plaintiff for harm or injury suffered as a result of another’s negligence. The amount of damages usually depends on the circumstances of the case that include the negligence committed, the injury suffered, and the identity of the defendant.
What is Comparative Negligence?
As per the Florida Law, when a plaintiff is partially at fault for an accident in which he or she suffers harm, that person’s recovery of damages will be reduced. Any contributory fault chargeable to the plaintiff diminishes economic and not-economic damages proportionate to the amount of that person’s fault, but it does not completely prevent the plaintiff from recovering damages. This is mentioned under section 768.81.
Tortfeasors are persons who act negligently. When more than one tortfeasor is responsible for causing injury or damage to another, all are supposed to pay damages even if a judgment has not been entered against every responsible party. As per section 768.31, a defendant is entitled to contribution from other tortfeasors if he or she has paid more than his or her share of common liability.
As far as the time limits are concerned, there are time limits for filing lawsuits based on negligence. These time limits are called statutes of limitations. These statutes of limitations usually vary depending on the type of negligence alleged in a specific case.