Some people in Pensacola feel that no one is really at fault in an accident because no one intentionally caused harm. However, Florida law views the situation differently. A Pensacola personal injury lawyer frequently uses the doctrine of negligence to hold people accountable for the harm they cause unintentionally.
So how is fault determined under Florida negligence law? Each case is different, but here are some general rules for assigning fault after personal injury situations such as car accidents, slip and fall incidents, and injuries caused by defective products.
A Personal Injury Lawyer Uses Fault to Demonstrate Negligence
Why is fault so important? Determining who is at fault for an accident is a key component in the doctrine of negligence. A Pensacola personal injury lawyer builds a negligence case to show that an accident victim is entitled to receive compensation for injuries resulting from the accident.
To show that someone was legally negligent, the attorney must prove that:
- The negligent person owed a duty of care to the accident victim (an obligation to behave responsibly)
- The person breached that duty, meaning that they failed to act responsibly
- The breach of duty or lack of responsibility caused the accident
- The accident victim suffered harm directly because of the accident
Sometimes, you may hear lawyers refer to “proximate cause.” Essentially, an injury attorney must prove a direct connection between the injury and the lack of responsibility. For instance, in a truck accident case, the lawyer might show that a company failed to provide proper training to their truck driver and that if the driver had been appropriately trained, the accident would not have occurred.
Presenting Evidence of Fault
To establish negligence, a Pensacola personal injury lawyer collects and presents a variety of evidence. The best evidence is often only available shortly after an accident, so it is wise to start gathering information as soon as possible.
An attorney could acquire traffic video footage, for instance, before it can be erased. Witness statements, photos of an accident scene, and medical records are also crucial pieces of evidence a personal injury lawyer uses to establish fault.
When Victims Might Also Be at Fault
We live in a complex world, and accidents often result from a combination of factors. Sometimes, the injured person is also partly at fault for the accident that caused their injury.
In some places, any actions that contribute to fault would prevent an accident victim from recovering from others who caused the injuries. Fortunately, in Pensacola, the doctrine of comparative fault applies.
This doctrine assigns a percentage of fault to each person involved and allows an injured person to recover based on the percentage of other people’s fault. If, for example, a swimmer is injured in a boating accident, the court might find the swimmer was ten percent at fault for failing to watch for boat traffic while the boat owner was 90 percent to blame for the accident. In that case, the swimmer would receive 90 percent of the total damage award.
How Fault Will Be Determined in Your Case
A determination of fault will be based on evidence in a particular case. So, it is a good idea to work with a Pensacola personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to make the most of your opportunities to collect and preserve the best evidence in your case. To get started with a free consultation, contact us now.