How to Prove Negligence in a Personal Injury Case in Florida
If you have been the victim of another’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. It is important to remember, however, that obtaining a settlement or a jury verdict will depend on your ability to prove that the other side was at fault. Proving the liability of a defendant will typically be dependent on the obtaining of evidence through a process known as discovery. It can also depend on the use of expert witnesses. This article will explore these subjects in depth. If you or a family member are in need of assistance, contact our office today to speak with an attorney.
Discovery Is a Vital Tool For Collecting Evidence in a Personal Injury Case
Discovery Provides Several Tools By Which a Plaintiff May Collect Evidence
Discovery is the process by which information is gained from the other side in litigation. This process provides several tools to a Plaintiff. The first of these tools, known as Interrogatories, allows for the Plaintiff to propound written questions upon a defendant or upon multiple defendants. The opposing parties must then answer the questions in writing. The second tool is a Request for Production. This can be used to require that the other side provide records, documents, or physical items. Third, subpoenas allow for a Plaintiff to obtain records, documents, or physical items from third-parties who are not otherwise involved in the litigation. Finally, depositions may be used to take sworn testimony in the presence of a court reporter. This testimony may be elicited from a defendant or from a third-party. The court reporter will produce a transcript of the testimony. This transcript can be used to point out inconsistencies in the event that a witness attempts to change their testimony at a later time.
The use of discovery is best explained by way of example. Suppose Joe Driver is driving through a four-way stop and their vehicle is struck by a semi-truck after the truck runs a stop sign. The truck driver claims that Joe is the one who ran the stop sign. Joe’s attorney uses discovery to obtain the truck driver’s phone records, which show that the driver was talking on their cell phone at the time of the accident. Furthermore, counsel obtains the employee policy manual from the truck driver’s employer, and the policy does not contain a prohibition against using cell phones while driving. This type of evidence helps to bolster Joe’s claim that a) the driver of the truck was negligent and b) the truck driver’s employer failed to adequately supervise the employee. While any case will depend on the specifics of the matter, this example demonstrates how discovery can be used to obtain valuable evidence.
It Can Be Difficult for Plaintiffs to Preval Without Conducting Discovery
Proving a contested case can be highly difficult without the proper conducting of discovery. Contrary to what is often displayed on television, in movies, and in other forms of media, trials are not won with “surprise” evidence which is only uncovered at the last minute. In reality, trials are won by presenting evidence that is methodically collected through the discovery process. Failing to properly conduct discovery, therefore, means that you may be without necessary evidence as your case proceeds to trial. This can result in you receiving less than the full amount of compensation that you deserve. Worse, it can result in you receiving no compensation at all.
Expert Witnesses Can Be Important to Proving Negligence in an Injury Case
Expert witnesses are often utilized to help establish liability in personal injury cases. In the context of car wrecks or trucking accidents, an accident reconstructionist may be retained to issue a report regarding their opinion as to who was at fault in the accident. In matters involving a slip and fall, expert witnesses are often required to offer testimony as to whether the premise’s operator was taking reasonable steps to keep the property safe. Also, in product liability cases, experts will typically be required in order to establish whether a product was defective as well as steps that could have been taken to prevent the defect. The type of expert needed, and the nature of their testimony, will always depend on the facts of a given case.
The defendant(s) will be given the opportunity to retain expert witnesses of their own. The amount of weight, if any, to be given to an expert’s testimony will be determined by the jury. The jurors may choose to find one expert more credible than the other. They may also choose to believe part of an expert’s testimony but not another. Finally, the jurors may find that the experts for neither side are credible. It will be important for your attorney to a) have a relationship with credible experts and b) have experience in cross-examining experts who will be presented by the defense.
Retain an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney for Cases Involving Disputed Liability
It is important to retain an experienced attorney if you are involved in a case where liability is disputed. Under Florida’s comparative fault laws, any liability on your part can result in you receiving a reduced amount of compensation. Moreover, if you are found to have been at least fifty-one percent responsible for the accident, you will be barred from recovery altogether. Experienced counsel will be familiar with the nuances of personal injury law. This can help with ensuring that all necessary evidence is gathered in your case and that you are not denied compensation that you otherwise deserve.
Contact Us To Speak With a Florida Personal Injury Attorney
If you or a loved one are in need of assistance, it is important that you retain representation as soon as possible. Our firm is devoted to protecting the rights of individuals who have been injured through no fault of their own. We will give your case the attention it deserves. Contact us online or by telephone at 800-780-8607 to speak with a Florida personal injury attorney.