Our Orlando personal injury law practice centers on the simple and basic concept that people or entities that are negligent should be held accountable for the damages that they cause. However, after meeting with people and talking about their cases over many years, it has become clear that many people do not understand exactly what negligence is.
Under Florida law, in its simplest form, “negligence” is the failure of a person or entity to use reasonable care. Reasonable care is defined in Florida as the level of care that a reasonably careful person would use under like circumstances.
Negligence can be an affirmative act – such as doing something that reasonably careful person would not do under the circumstances. Negligence can also reflect an omission or failure to do something that a careful person would have done under the circumstances.
Negligence can also occur as the result of the violation of a statute or ordinance. For example, if a jury finds that a driver violated a particular traffic statute, such a violation might automatically mean that the driver meets the definition of negligence. How this works largely depends upon which specific traffic statute the offending driver has been accused of. Violation of some statutes represents only some evidence of negligence, and will not be conclusive of whether the party is negligent.
Negligence cannot be inferred simply because an accident or even occurred. Barring very special circumstances, the person claiming that another has been guilty of negligence has the burden of proving negligence.
As you can see, negligence is far from a black-and-white concept. There are innumerable factual situations that might give rise to claims of negligence. This is why it is many times very important to have an experienced personal injury or accident lawyer involved in your case. An experienced lawyer may have a more nuanced and educated approach to bringing claims, and may have a better feel for the kind of information that insurance companies and other defendants value when determining whether they have any responsibility.
It is important to note that without a finding of negligence, a personal injury case cannot move forward. In other words, without first finding negligence, a jury never gets to consider a plaintiff’s damages, medical bills, lost wages, or any other impact following an event. This make establishing negligence a very high priority when handling a personal injury claim.
If you have any questions regarding negligence, or a Florida personal injury claim, call Orlando accident attorney Kim Cullen & Bob Hemphill at 407-644-4444.