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Personal Injury Archives | Farah & Farah

Negligence, the Legal Definition in Florida

By Farah & Farah on June 12, 2017

Understanding the legal definition of “negligence” is key to understanding Florida’s laws concerning personal injury lawsuits as negligence serves as the basis for most personal injury cases. In other words, Florida personal injury plaintiffs (i.e. the injured person who is suing) generally argues that the defendant acted negligently in some way and that it was this negligence that caused their injuries. But how do we know when a defendant acted negligently? Negligence can encompass a great many actions in which a person acted unreasonably or without due care, however, jurors serving on civil cases in Florida are asked to abide by the legal definition of negligence provided in Jury Instruction 401.4 which states that:

Negligence is 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.

Now that you’re familiar with Florida’s legal definition of negligence, read on to explore the important role that negligence plays in personal injury cases.

Proving Negligence

In order to win a personal injury case based on negligence the injured plaintiff must prove the following four elements:

  1. That the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care,
  2. That the defendant breached this duty by acting negligently,
  3. That this breach of duty led to the plaintiff’s injuries, and
  4. That the plaintiff’s injuries are compensable (i.e. the plaintiff must prove his or her damages).

In many personal injury cases, proving that the defendant acted negligently is by far the most difficult element to satisfy. However, there is a type of shortcut available in some case.  This shortcut is referred to as “negligence per se” and can apply under two different circumstances:

  1. When a defendant violates a law that is intended to protect the public from harm and which defines the failure of care required to constitute negligence, or
  2. When a defendant’s actions are so far beyond society’s definition of what constitutes reasonable behavior that the defendant’s behavior is negligent on its face.

For example, if a particular law states that driving in excess of a certain speed is considered to be legally negligent then an individual who breaks this law is considered to be negligent per se. Additionally, even if there isn’t an applicable driving law that dictates the speed at which a driver is considered to be legally negligent, a court would, for example, likely find that driving at a speed of 100 miles per hour through a residential neighborhood is negligent per se.

Pure Comparative Negligence in Florida  

The degree of a party’s negligence plays a critical role in personal injury cases in Florida. This is because our state acknowledges the reality that more than one party’s negligence often contributes to an accident. But who is held liable when more than one party is at-fault for causing a plaintiff’s injuries? And what if the injured plaintiff himself acted negligently and is partially at fault for causing the accident in which he was injured? Florida answers these questions by analyzing them under a pure comparative fault theory of negligence.

In a pure comparative negligence state, like Florida, a personal injury plaintiff can still recover damages even if he or she was partially at fault for causing the accident in which they were injured. However, the plaintiff’s recovery will be reduced in proportion to the amount of their fault. This means that a plaintiff may be 99 percent at-fault for causing an accident and may still sue the one percent at-fault defendant to recover one percent of their damages.

How is Negligence Punished in Personal Injury Cases? 

A negligent personal injury defendant who is found liable in a Florida court can be ordered to pay a variety of different damages to the plaintiff, depending on the nature of plaintiff’s injuries. Damages commonly awarded in personal injury cases include:

  • Economic Compensatory Damages. Economic compensatory damages are awarded in order to compensate the injured plaintiff for any financial losses that he or she suffered because of the liable defendant’s negligence. Economic compensatory damages commonly include compensation for the plaintiff’s medical bills, impaired earning potential, lost wages, etc.
  • Non-Economic Compensatory Damages. Like economic compensatory damages, non-economic compensatory damages are designed to make the injured plaintiff whole again. The difference is that non-economic compensatory damages compensate plaintiffs for their non-financial losses. Examples include compensation for pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, emotional anguish, etc.
  • Punitive Damages. Unlike other types of damages, punitive damages are designed to punish the defendant. These damages are awarded in a small number of personal injury cases, and only when the defendant’s actions were particularly reckless or malicious. The idea is that punitive damages will help deter both the defendant and others from engaging in similar behavior in the future.

It is important to note that some states cap the amount of money that a successful personal injury plaintiff within their state can recover in damages. In Florida, there are no damage caps on compensatory damages, however, there is a limit on how much an injured plaintiff can recover in punitive damages. In most personal injury cases a plaintiff can only recover $500,000, or three times the amount of their compensatory damages, whichever is greater. However, Florida does impose a $500,000 damage cap on non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases where the defendant is a medical practitioner ($750,000 if the defendant is not a medical practitioner).

Need Legal Advice?

Wondering if someone else’s negligence caused your injury? If so, contact the experienced Jacksonville personal injury lawyers of Farah & Farah. Our experienced lawyers have been fighting to help our clients and their families get what they deserve out of their personal injury cases for more than 35 years. We would be happy to put our expertise to work for you. Schedule a free consultation to discuss your legal options via our online contact form today.

Posted in: Personal Injury

What Are the Risks Associated with Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Orlando, Florida?

By Farah & Farah on May 20, 2017

There are many different types of personal injury claims that you can pursue in Orlando, Florida, in civil court. In many cases, these issues can be resolved without going to trial. If you are able to file a claim with someone’s insurance policy, for example, then you could recover compensation without having to litigate the case. However, if you do wish to pursue a civil lawsuit or if you cannot recover fair compensation through an insurance claim, then you need to know the risks that are associated with this and how to confront them. To begin with, you need to understand which scenarios allow for a civil lawsuit. If you can prove that another party is responsible for your personal injury for any of the following reasons, then you have a valid Orlando, Florida, personal injury claim:

  • The at-fault party failed to use reasonable care to prevent the injury, through negligence.
  • The at-fault party provided an unsafe or hazardous property condition, creating liability.
  • The at-fault party used words (written or spoken) to harm your reputation, as defamation.

It is important to understand how negligence, liability, and defamation work, depending on the type of claim you have. You can learn more about this by discussing your case with a skilled Orlando, Florida, personal injury attorney. It is also essential to be aware of the risks that come with litigating your Orlando, Florida, personal injury case. You need to know about motions to dismiss, motions for summary judgment, and the overall costs of litigation in time and money.

The Risk of the Defendant Filing a Motion to Dismiss Your Orlando, Florida Personal Injury Case

Whenever you plan to file a lawsuit against someone whose negligence, liability, or defamation has caused you harm, the at-fault party becomes the defendant. The defendant is allowed to file a motion to dismiss the case. This means that they request the judge who is presiding over the case to review the case and dismiss it. If this happens, then there won’t be a trial, a jury verdict, or any further discussion in many cases. Sometimes, the case will be dismissed for a good reason, such as the fact that you failed to give a good reason for filing the lawsuit. It may also be dismissed because of a mistake, such as not properly serving the defendant with the lawsuit. The case may be dismissed without prejudice, meaning that you can get things sorted out and file again. Or, it may be dismissed with prejudice, and you will not be able to file again. In other cases, the motion to dismiss will simply fail because your attorney has ensured that the investigation of your case was thorough and complete.

The Risk of the Defendant Responding to Your Lawsuit by Filing a Motion for Summary Judgment 

Whenever the defendant in your personal injury claim in Orlando, Florida, is served with the lawsuit or complaint, he or she will have a chance to respond with a formal answer. Then, the discovery phase of your lawsuit will begin, in which both sides investigate the claim and request evidence and documents. You will have to share certain documents and information with the defense. Once this happens, the defendant may file a motion for summary judgment. This means that they are requesting the court to enter a judgment that favors the defense in lieu of actually carrying out the lawsuit. In some cases, this happens because the evidence gathered does not indicate liability or that negligence occurred. In other cases, a motion for summary judgment can be allowed because you have run out the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations refers to how much time you have to file your Orlando, Florida, personal injury lawsuit. If you run out this statute, you no longer have a right to file the lawsuit.

The Risk of Spending a Tremendous Amount of Time and Money on Your Claim without Success

Although most personal injury lawsuits never actually make it to trial, because they are settled out of court, this is not always the case. It takes a lot of time and a lot of money to pursue an Orlando, Florida, personal injury claim. If you do not win, then you will be greatly discouraged by the amount of time and money you have invested into the process. Although most personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, meaning that they only get paid if you do, there are other expenses to consider.

For example, you may need to hire expert witnesses if you are going to take the case to trial. You have to prove your case, and getting the testimony from medical professionals, accident reconstructionists, and other experts can be costly. If you settle your case or win your case in court, then these fees are all going to come out of your settlement or judgment. In most cases, with an attorney who works on a contingency fee basis, the attorney will cover these costs up front. They will then come from your settlement or favorable judgment once the case is resolved. The attorney’s fees will also come from this.

When it comes to the time involved in pursuing an Orlando, Florida, personal injury claim, you must consider the discovery phase, the amount of time it takes to find expert witnesses, and how long it takes to investigate your claim. In many cases, it will be months before your case is resolved. Throughout this time, motions will be filed, hearings will be scheduled, and plenty of information will go back and forth.

What Can You Do To Minimize the Risks Involved in Your Orlando, Florida, Personal Injury Claim?

It is important that you don’t become discouraged with the risks associated with your Orlando, Florida, personal injury claim. You should discuss all of the risks with your attorney and pay attention to his or her advice. Your lawyer knows whether it is worthwhile to pursue your claim, whether the value of your claim is reasonable and realistic, and what you should do to resolve the issue. Contact the experienced Orlando, Florida, personal injury attorneys at Farah & Farah to schedule a free consultation and learn more.

Posted in: Personal Injury

Zika Virus in Florida is Moving Outside of Miami

By on September 14, 2016

zikda-virusNationwide, about 3,000 people have been diagnosed with infection by the mosquito borne Zika virus. Most of those cases were contracted while traveling to South and Central America. While not particularly harmful to most people, Zika infection can cause serious birth defects, including microcephaly (inhibited brain development), if contracted by pregnant women. In Florida, 84 pregnant women have tested positive for the Zika virus. This prompted Florida Governor Rick Scott to offer free Zika virus testing to all of the state’s pregnant women. So many women responded to the offer that test results are backlogged for two weeks or more. This creates a problem because Florida forbids abortions after 24 weeks, prohibiting that option for some infected women.
Read the rest »

Posted in: Personal Injury

More Cases of Zika Virus Reported in Florida

By on July 26, 2016

As the southernmost state in the continental United States, Florida is directly in the path of the spreading Zika virus. Earlier this summer, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that a Florida woman was the first person in the U.S. to have contracted the Zika virus without having previously traveled to a country where the virus is prevalent. Since then, three other non travel related infections of the virus have been reported. Zika is known to spread in two ways: by being bitten by an Aedes aegypti mosquito or through sexual relations with an infected person. The real danger of the Zika virus is that pregnant women infected with it can miscarry or have children with severe birth defects.

Unfortunately, about 80 percent of people infected with the virus have no symptoms, so they may unknowingly infect their partners or unborn children. In those who do show symptoms of Zika, those symptoms include low grade fever, soreness, headaches, red eyes, body rash, and sometimes abdominal pain, nausea, and diarrhea. The Zika virus can be detected with a blood or urine test. To find out more, call the Florida Zika Virus Hotline at 1(855) 622-6735. Read the rest »

Posted in: Personal Injury

How Social Media has Made it Easy for Anyone to Purchase a Gun

By on May 29, 2016

With mass shootings seemingly on the rise, and the horror of events like the Sandy Hook school massacre still fresh in everyone’s memory, the subject of gun control has become pervasive. Why, then, is it easier than ever for a person to get a gun? One major reason is the Internet marketplace and social media. While most states require a background check for people buying guns from a gun store or licensed firearm dealer, this is not the case for people buying and selling guns privately, in person or online. Although it is illegal for a convicted felon or a person with a history of mental illness to possess a firearm, there is no way to keep them from gaining access to one in the Internet marketplace. Read the rest »

Posted in: Personal Injury

Frightening Statistics About Crime in Florida

By on April 20, 2016

Florida is the third most populous state in America, following only California and Texas, with a population of about 20 million people. But if you live in Florida, you know the Sunshine State has a dark side. The F.B.I.’s Uniform Crime Report for 2014 (the most recent year information is available for) reveals that Florida has its fair share of crime. Unfortunately, we have the 8th largest crime rate in the nation. The following statistics are for 2014:

Read the rest »

Posted in: Personal Injury

Four Common Types of Catastrophic Injury In Florida

By on March 14, 2016

A catastrophic injury can be defined as an injury that is permanent and life altering. A catastrophic injury can permanently keep you from earning a living, or earning the living you’ve become accustomed to.  The three main elements of a catastrophic injury are that the result is permanent, is life altering, and has a major negative impact on a person’s life. A scar on the arm may be permanent and somewhat negative, but it is not really life altering. On the other hand, a scar on the face of a young person can be life altering in addition to being permanent and have a deep negative impact on them.

Farah & Farah has helped many Jacksonville residents secure the settlement they need to heal and move on after a catastrophic injury. Call us at (800) 533-3555. Read the rest »

Posted in: Personal Injury

What is the Statute of Limitations for My Valdosta Personal Injury Case?

By on February 20, 2016

In Georgia, if you’re injured due to the negligent, careless, or intentional act of another party, you may be able to file a personal injury claim in attempt to win compensation for your losses.

Different states have different statutes of limitations (time limits) for how long after an injury took place that one has to file a personal injury claim. In Georgia, that time limit is two calendar years from the day the injury occurred. However, in cases where the injury is not immediately discovered or the cause is not immediately known. This time limit doesn’t technically start until the “accrual of claims,” which is the point at which the injury (or its cause) is actually discovered. Read the rest »

Posted in: Personal Injury

Can I Recover Medical Bills in My Waycross Personal Injury Case?

By on February 11, 2016

The answer is: “Yes, if you win your case.”

If you have been injured by the careless, negligent, or intentional act of another party, you can file a personal injury claim for any of the following damages:

  • Current medical bills: Bills resulting from the initial injury.
  • Future medical bills: If the initial injury requires treatment in the future.
  • Pain and suffering: Compensation for the physical and emotional stress caused by the accident and injury. Read the rest »

Posted in: Personal Injury

The Most Common Causes of Personal Injuries

By on January 20, 2016

Florida Spine Injury AccidentFarah & Farah has represented many people injured because of the negligence of another person or company. We’ve been able to secure settlement for clients injured in all kinds of ways. Here are the most common causes of personal injury claims

Car Accidents

There are about 6 million car accidents each year in the United States. This includes accidents involving bicyclists and pedestrians. Increasing use of cellphones while driving is only going to keep these numbers high.

Work Related Injuries

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported nearly 3 million non-fatal work related injuries in 2014. The Bureau also reported that almost 5,000 people died from work related injuries in 2014. The most common work-related injuries involved repetitive motion injuries like back problems from lifting heavy objects or carpal tunnel from typing too much. Read the rest »

Posted in: Personal Injury

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The attorneys of Farah & Farah in Jacksonville, Florida have experience with personal injury, medical malpractice, product liability, workers’ compensation, social security, injury and negligence lawsuits. Eddie Farah and our team of Jacksonville attorneys are proud to represent working people and families throughout the country.

*Disclaimer: Not all results are provided and not all clients have provided testimonials, the results are not necessarily representative of results obtained by the lawyer, and a prospective client’s individual facts and circumstances may differ from the matter in which the results and the testimonials are provided.

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