Personal Injury & Negligence Lawyers

What is Negligence?

In Florida the Supreme Court has defined negligence as the failure to use reasonable care, which is the care that a reasonably careful person would use under like circumstances. Negligence is doing something that a reasonably careful person would not do under like circumstances or failing to do something that a reasonably careful person would do under like circumstances. This is found in Florida standard jury instructions section 401.4.

Negligence is not always easy to understand. If you believe you've been injured due to someone else's negligence, contact our personal injury law firm in Gainesville, FL. We will investigate your case and help you receive the compensation you deserve.

Understanding Negligence in a Personal Injury Case

In order to have a successful case for negligence in Florida you will be required to prove the following issues in court:

  1. A duty which is recognized by law requiring the defendants to meet a certain standard of conduct in order to protect other parties, including you or the injured plaintiff against unreasonable risks;
  2. A breach of that duty by failing to meet the required standard;
  3. A reasonable causal connection between the defendant's conduct and the alleged injury.
  4. Actual damage or loss which results from the defendant's conduct and was suffered by the plaintiff.

If any of the foregoing elements are missing, you will not be able to have a successful negligence action in Florida. Many cases may have strong evidence of two or three elements, but may still fail as a result of lack of a single element. For instance, if an individual is hit by a moving vehicle in a parking lot but suffers no injuries or property damage, the individual would not have a successful claim for negligence. In this instance, the claimant would meet two out of four elements of negligence but not be able to prove the event CAUSED the claimant to suffer actual DAMAGES.

In most cases, the first element of negligence which must be determined is that of duty. Typically the court will determine whether a duty exists early on in the case. Many times, the defendant will challenge the existence of a duty in a motion to dismiss. At this stage, the court is able to analyze the facts as alleged by the plaintiff and make a legal ruling as to whether the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of reasonable care under the allegedly facts.

If a duty does exist, the next inquiry is to determine whether or not a breach occurred. This inquiry is typically left to the finder of fact, which is normally a jury in Florida. If the jury determines that a breach of an existing duty has been proven, then it goes on to it makes a determination whether damages exist. If they find no breach of duty, the jury does not make a determination as to the damages.

Negligence & Intent

Interestingly, unlike criminal actions, a negligence case does not require a determination of intent. Intent is not one of the elements of a negligence case. The law requires the defendant is liable for the reasonably foreseeable consequences of his negligent conduct; however, the law does not require that the defendant hopes for or desires the results of his conduct. Moreover, the law does not even require the defendant believe that a particular result is certain to follow from his conduct.

Negligence Lawyers in Gainesville, FL

If you believe that you have suffered injury due to negligence, and you would like to speak to a negligence attorney concerning this matter, please contact Warner, Sechrest & Butts at our Gainesville, FL office at any time. Our attorneys are board-certified trial experts experienced in negligence cases. Our injury consultations are always free and you will not have to pay attorney fees or costs unless we recover damages on your behalf. Please call us to discuss your personal injury and negligence case and find out what your case is worth.