West Palm Beach, FL – After a motor vehicle collision, there are a number of questions that victims may have related to their recovery and how things like the legal process and insurance claims can help them. There is one significant law in each state that can make a huge difference regarding the amount of money that an accident victim can collect. This is the law of negligence.
Almost all civil injury lawsuits are actually filed as negligence cases. This means that the person or business at fault violated the relevant duty of care and caused injuries and losses to the victim. The four elements of negligence are the duty of care, a breach of that duty, actual and proximate causation, and losses resulting from the defendants actions, also called damages. This basic structure does not change much in every state, however the process to divide fault and damages in a negligence case can vary greatly based on the jurisdiction.
Comparative negligence and Florida law
A plaintiff who is somewhat at fault for their own injuries in Florida can still collect damages under the state’s comparative negligence laws. Over time, negligence laws were altered from a strict standard called contributory negligence, which said that anyone who is even slightly at fault for their own injuries cannot collect any damages at all.
Florida uses a pure comparative negligence doctrine. This means that fault can be divided between all drivers involved in an accident to equal one hundred percent, even if several drivers are involved in a collision. Regardless of the level of fault of each individual, they can still try to bring a lawsuit against the others for damages. When a plaintiff is found to be partially at fault, their damages are reduced in proportion to their level of fault. A plaintiff who is only slightly at fault can still collect most of the damages available to them, while one who is mostly at fault for the collision may only be able to collect a small amount.
Deciding whether a negligence lawsuit is necessary
The decision whether to bring a case even if the plaintiff is partially or mostly at fault is highly dependent on each specific accident and the facts surrounding the case. As a general rule, someone who is severely hurt or who will require long term medical treatment should almost always try to receive some kind of compensation through a lawsuit to help pay for healthcare expenses. However, legal advice is often necessary to determine how to proceed with any case.
Speaking with a local injury lawyer
Anyone in the West Palm Beach area who needs to learn more about accident lawsuits can contact a local firm that specializes in these kinds of cases. Smith and Vanture is a trusted personal injury firm staffed with attorneys who are licensed in Florida.
Firm contact info:
580 Village Blvd. Suite 200, West Palm Beach, FL 33409