Negligence and Strict Liability
Negligence and Strict Liability Claims in Florida
Accidents happen. Whether it is a car crash, a mishap with a defective product or a slip and fall on a wet surface, these incidents can cause serious injuries and even death. Fortunately, Florida law gives people injured in accidents a number of tools to ensure that those responsible are made fully accountable. A personal injury lawyer in Florida often plays a key role in helping people get the full compensation available under the law.
At Searcy Denney, our Florida personal injury attorneys combine decades of legal experience to help people get back on their feet after an accident. We have the experience and resources to go toe to toe with insurers and other big companies. Our firm also has a solid track record of successful results for the people that we represent.
There are two primary legal theories used to recover money damages in personal injury cases: negligence and strict liability. The extent to which they can be used varies largely based on the specific circumstances of the case. It is vital that anyone considering seeking legal action in the Sunshine State consult a reputable law firm. An experienced personal injury lawyer in Florida can guide you through the legal process with experience and personal attention.
Understanding a Florida Negligence Claims
Negligence is a common legal theory that often comes into play in personal injury cases. Generally, it works to hold people and entities legally responsible when they do not live up to what courts commonly refer to as a “duty of care.” Negligence may be based on specific actions or a failure to act, depending on the circumstances.
Florida law imposes a variety of duties of care. Drivers, for example, owe passengers and others on the road a duty to operate their vehicles in a reasonably safe manner. That includes obeying traffic laws, maintaining appropriate speeds and refraining from dangerous activity like drinking or texting behind the wheel. Property owners, on the other hand, owe a duty to visitors and others to keep their premises in a generally safe condition and to warn them of any hazards that may exist in order to prevent a trip/slip and fall or other accident.
The manufacturers of various consumer products – from cars to household items and everything in between – owe a duty of care to the people who purchase or use their products. That includes designing and manufacturing the product in a reasonably safe way and marketing it so that its approved uses and any hazards are made clear.
To prove negligence, you have to show that the person or entity that you believe is responsible for the accident breached a duty of care. You must also show that this caused the accident and your injuries. Additionally, it is important to detail the full extent of those injuries and the medical bills, missed wages and other financial impacts of them. Do not hesitate to contact a Florida personal injury lawyer to discuss your specific situation and get the help you need to prove your case.
Florida is a “comparative negligence” state. That means a person injured in an accident can still recover a portion of his or her money damages if he or she is partly to blame for the injuries. Take, for example, a driver injured in a car accident who is deemed 25 percent to blame for the crash because he was speeding at the time his car collided with a drunk truck driver. That person can still obtain 75 percent of the available damages under the comparative negligence system.
What are Strict Liability Claims in Florida?
Strict liability is a separate legal theory that is not based on a duty of care. Instead, these types of cases are based on the claim that a person or entity is legally liable for certain accidents regardless of whether it was caused by negligence.
Strict liability is most commonly used in product liability cases. A manufacturer who produces a commercial product for sale has an implied responsibility under the law to ensure that the product is safe for people to use. The manufacturer is considered strictly liable for injuries proved to be caused from defects in either the way the product is designed or the way it was produced.
Although strict liability removes the need to prove a breach of a duty of care, an injured person does have to establish liability in order to get money damages in products liability cases. That includes showing that the product was “unreasonably dangerous” at the time of the injury. In other words, you have to prove that the manufacturer should have been aware of the danger posed to people using the product in a foreseeable way. You also have to establish that the defects directly caused you to be injured.
Florida law also imposes strict liability on dog owners whose pets bite another person. The owner is strictly liable for a dog that attacks a person, regardless of whether he or she was negligent or whether he or she knew that the dog was prone to attack. There is one caveat, however: The victim must have been in a public space or lawfully present on private property at the time of the incident.
Speak With a Personal Injury Lawyer at a Top Florida Law Firm
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, you have the right to seek compensation from those responsible. An experienced Florida personal injury lawyer can help.
At Searcy Denney, our attorneys help injured people and their families put the pieces back together following an accident. That includes helping you find proper medical care, dealing with your employer, haggling with insurance companies and litigating lawsuits in court when needed.
We understand the financial stress that can come with being in an accident. That is why we offer contingency fee arrangements in which we do not get paid unless you make a recovery.
Our team of dedicated legal professionals is ready to fight for you. Our offices are conveniently located in West Palm Beach and Tallahassee. Call us at 888-549-7011 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer in Florida today.