Most people are familiar with the term personal injury law. However, this is just an umbrella term that covers a wide range of possible legal claims, from products liability to intentional torts, like assault.

But most personal injury cases are actually brought under the legal theory known as negligence, which has a long and storied history in American law. In this article, we will discuss the Florida negligence law, the 4 elements of negligence under Florida law, and how they may apply to your situation.  For more information on Florida negligence statute, contact one of our experienced Florida personal injury lawyers near you for a free case evaluation at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk.

florida negligence law
4 elements of negligence

What is Florida Negligence Law?

You may be wondering, “What is Florida negligence law?” Florida negligence law states, “the court shall enter judgment against each party liable on the basis of such party’s percentage of fault and not on the basis of the doctrine of joint and several liability.” Although there are many famous court cases that are a big part of shaping negligence law, the governing law itself is actually found in the Florida Statutes.

More specifically, Florida Statutes Chapter 768 deals exclusively with Florida negligence statute and all connected issues like damages, special exceptions, etc. However, sorting through all the legalese can be overwhelming and confusing. There’s a reason that attorneys have to go to law school, after all. Instead, it’s much easier to break down a claim into its basic elements.

What are the 4 Elements of Negligence in Florida?

In the most general sense, negligence, in Florida, is when someone fails to exercise a degree of reasonable care expected of them to minimize risk of harm to another. The four elements of negligence in Florida are: duty of care, breach of duty, causation, and damage. Here’s how they are broken down:

florida negligence law
4 elements of negligence
  1. Duty of Care – First, a plaintiff needs to show that the person/entity who injured them owed them a duty of care. This means that they had a legal obligation to do (or not do) something based on the relationship between the parties.

    For example, every driver on the road has a duty to others on the road to drive their vehicle safely and according to the law. Someone who owns a business open to the public owes a duty to visitors to keep their store as free of hazards as possible.
  2. Breach of Duty – The second element requires a breach of duty to create a legal cause of action. A driver breaches their duty by driving unsafely or breaking traffic laws. A store owner might breach their duty if they ignore a spill of some sort where customers travel.
  3. Causation – The next element of negligence in Florida, seems easy and logical, but there can be some complications. If one driver hits another and causes damage to their vehicle, causation is easy. But when there are multiple people or events that are involved in an accident, things can get confusing.

    If someone in a store accidentally knocks an item off a shelf which hits someone else, the cause of the accident is at first glance, not the store owner. But if the store owner placed the item at a height and position that made it a danger for customers to navigate, then the injured customer may claim that the owner’s negligent act legally caused the harm. 
  4. Damages/Injury – Finally, the plaintiff must show that they suffered injuries or losses that can be compensated. Usually, this means financial compensation. While it seems clear that you can’t sue someone when you haven’t suffered damages of some kind, this is still an important step to completing a claim.

    Damages must be proven by evidence such as medical bills, proof of lost wages, appraisals for property damage, and more. In addition, less concrete losses like pain and suffering and loss of life enjoyment are also possible losses that a plaintiff may ask for.

Florida negligence laws don’t just define what a claim is, they also define the type and amount of damages a plaintiff can seek. If you have suffered injuries in a car accident, slip and fall incident, or any other accident resulting from the negligence of another person or entity, you have the right to seek compensation. Contact us to schedule your free case review.

Florida and Comparative Fault

Florida is a modified comparative negligence state. This means that if you are found to be no more than 50% at fault for the accident, your recovery is reduced by the same proportion as your percentage of fault. As an example, if you are found to be 20% at fault in an accident, you may still recover 80% of your damages in a lawsuit. If, however, your percentage of fault is found to be more than 50%, you are barred from any recovery under the law.

Injured By Someone’s Negligence in Florida? Call Abrahamson & Uiterwyk Today!

If you suffer injuries or other damages in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you have the right to seek compensation. And while filing any legal claim seems scary, the nearby personal injury team at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk is here to make the process as stress-free as possible.

We know the law and proudly boast 30 years of experience successfully representing clients throughout Florida. We offer potential clients a free case evaluation to assess your claim and advise you on the best legal path for your recovery.

To schedule an appointment with us, call us at 813-223-5295 or contact us on our website.

Learn more about Florida Punitive Damages Cap.

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