Understanding Negligence in Personal Injury
The Definition of Negligence
Negligence is legally defined as failure to use reasonable care, resulting in damage or injury to another person. Defendants in cases of negligence may not be individuals. They can also be property owners, government agencies, or other entities responsible for causing an accident that resulted in harm. Understanding negligence is essential if you plan to file a personal injury lawsuit against one of these parties. At Dennis A. Lopez & Associates, our team has more than 30 years of experience in personal injury law. To schedule a free consultation, call our office at (813) 223-1977. We are dedicated to your case and obtaining the compensation you deserve.
Examples of Negligence
There are two types of negligence – criminal and civil. Knowing the difference is key to understanding negligence. Personal injury cases focus solely on civil negligence. Here are some of the most common examples of negligence presented in personal injury lawsuits:
- When a property owner fails to repair porch steps, resulting in the injury of friends who come to visit.
- When a restaurant owner mops the floor and fails to place a warning sign, resulting in a slip and fall accident.
- When a store hosts a sales event without additional security, resulting in a trampled customer.
- When a driver runs a stop sign while driving over the speed limit, resulting in the death of a pedestrian.
- When an employer fails to follow workplace guidelines, resulting in the injury of employees.
- When a doctor operates on the wrong patient or body part after misreading a chart, resulting in the injury of a patient.
Any of these examples could result in significant compensation for the injured party. Compensation may include (but isn’t limited to) past and future medical bills, funeral expenses, pain and suffering, and loss of income.
Proving negligence can be challenging, especially if you were partially responsible for the accident in which you were injured. Understanding negligence can simplify this process. In your personal injury lawsuit, you must prove:
- Duty – When the law recognizes a relationship between the defendant and the plaintiff. For example, drivers have a legal duty to pedestrians. This duty is fulfilled by following the rules of the road.
- Breach of Duty – When a defendant breaches legal duty by failing to use reasonable care. For example, if a driver fails to signal before turning a corner and strikes a pedestrian, a clear breach of duty has taken place.
- Direct Cause – When the defendant’s actions directly caused the plaintiff’s injury. For example, if the driver had signaled, the pedestrian wouldn’t have been hit.
Not sure how to prove negligence for your case? An experienced personal injury attorney can help when it comes to understanding negligence – giving you a bigger picture of the cause of your injuries.
Special Cases: Vicarious Liability
Small businesses, government agencies, and large corporations can all be held responsible for injuries caused by careless decisionmakers under their control. Negligence starts during the hiring process.The term “vicarious liability” refers to a lawsuit in which someone (usually an employer) is held responsible for the actions of another person (usually an employee). In order to prove vicarious liability, the plaintiff must show the accident in question took place during the course of employment.For example, if a commercial truck driver fell asleep at the wheel before crashing into a passenger vehicle, the company responsible for hiring the driver may be named as a defendant in a personal injury lawsuit. The driver may also be named.
Special Cases: Strict Liability
In some situations, personal injury lawsuits will name a defendant under “strict liability.” These cases usually involve defective products or dangerous activities. For example, a dog owner may be held strictly liable for bringing an obviously dangerous animal into a dog park.In most negligence cases, the plaintiff is responsible for proving an injury was incurred as a direct result of the defendant’s actions. Under strict liability, a plaintiff need only prove the product or activity was unreasonably dangerous and led to injury – even if the plaintiff has already recovered.These cases provide a major incentive for manufacturers to clean up their facilities and ensure their products are safe for the general public.
Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney for Representation
If you have been a victim of negligence, you have four years to file a personal injury lawsuit in the state of Florida. If this window closes, you will never be able to receive compensation for your injuries.For representation and assistance in understanding negligence, contact our team of personal injury attorneys at Dennis A. Lopez & Associates by calling (813) 223-1977. We are fully dedicated to obtaining the compensation you deserve.