Under Florida law, anyone who has been seriously injured in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence has a right to be paid money for all the costs associated with the injury, called damages in law. In Florida, economic damages include past and future lost income, the full replacement value of any lost property, all medical expenses, costs of support and services lost due to the injury, and more. The other main category of damages, called noneconomic damages, includes amounts for pain and suffering, mental and emotional suffering caused by the incident, anxiety, and stress related to the accident, injuries, treatment, and post-traumatic stress disorder or other psychological issues.
To win in a case involving a claim of negligence, the person making a claim in court (called the plaintiff) has to prove that the person who caused the incident (called the defendant) had a legal duty to not harm the person who was injured, that the defendant was negligent or careless and caused the injury, and that the incident caused the injuries that the plaintiff has dealt with afterward. An experienced lawyer can help you understand your case and all the complexities involved in proving each part of it.
Many accidents have complex causes that are not as simple as putting all the blame on one individual. Florida law recognizes this fact with what is called pure comparative liability. Liability means legal responsibility for causing something to happen. With a pure comparative liability law like in Florida, the judge or jury looks at all the facts of the incident that caused the injury and compares the legal responsibility, or liability, between all the potential contributing causes. So even the plaintiff, the person bringing the lawsuit to win an award of money damages, can be found to have contributory fault in causing the accident. In that case, the amount of money awarded to the plaintiff as payment of damages would be reduced by the percentage of fault that the plaintiff shares in causing the accident.
One Hundred Percent Of The Blame
The court will look at the evidence and hear testimony from witnesses and perhaps experts who will explain all the reasons the car accident occurred. From there, the court will decide how to divide up responsibility for the events. The defendant may argue why part of the blame should be placed on the plaintiff due to their behavior. The plaintiff may know of other people who were part of the cause but who aren’t being blamed in court, such as in a case where an unknown driver swerved toward another driver, causing the second driver to react quickly and turn into the path of another car, which caused the accident, while the first driver continued driving away.
Bringing In A Nonparty
The law requires that a defendant trying to place some of the blame on a nonparty has to do their best to identify who it is and to try to bring the person into the case, if possible. It is important to have all the people (or companies) that could be partly to blame for the incident involved in the court case so that any award of damages can be accurately divided between those who were at fault in any way. The court is required by law to enter judgment against the responsible parties based on each party’s percentage of fault in causing the accident.
Advantages Of Settlement
An experienced injury lawyer understands the risks of taking a case to trial when the court’s award to the plaintiff could be significantly reduced by the contributory fault of someone other than the defendant. It’s possible to negotiate with the parties at fault to resolve an injury claim without a court case. Often, a skilled lawyer can negotiate from a stronger settlement position with the challenges of disputed liability as an unresolved legal question. The right lawyer on your case will understand the value of building a solid case based on a thorough view of the facts.
Florida Accident Attorneys
To learn more about how your fault in an incident impacts the viability of your personal injury lawsuit, you should run your case by a Florida personal injury lawyer. Most importantly, if you have sustained injuries because of someone’s negligence, then a personal injury attorney can help you know how to optimize the value of your case. At Koberlein Law Offices, our experienced personal injury attorneys have helped many Floridians over the years by holding people responsible for the harm that they have caused to our clients. We will fight to be certain that you get paid every dollar you deserve in your injury claim or lawsuit. Call us toll-free at 877.556.2889 or contact us online for a free consultation with a Koberlein Law Offices attorney.
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