Different states have varying laws when it comes to proving negligence after a car accident. In general, statutes lay down the elements that a party needs to provide proof of to hold another party liable for damages. In the state of Florida, car accidents fall under the comparative negligence standard, which has four elements or parts that the party bringing the lawsuit must prove by a preponderance of the evidence. These elements are the duty of care, breach, causation, and damages. We have discussed each in detail below.
Duty of care
This is a requirement that each party involved in the car accident behave with a reasonable standard of care. It means performing the same actions that a reasonable and prudent person would have done in the same situation. As such, motorists are expected to abide by the rules of the road, including speed limits, stop signs, and other traffic laws. These laws must be upheld while drivers are behind the wheel. If they are not being followed, it can lead to some serious damage. Damage could have been avoided if they had followed the rules.
This is a violation of the duty of care. It would involve actions that a reasonable person wouldn’t have taken in the same situation. An example of a breach of duty of care would be if a motorist was driving at an excessive speed, running a red light, or not following the rules of the road. These rules are put in place to be always followed. Drivers have to respect the traffic laws if they want to avoid getting into car accidents. Once established that there was a breach in duty of care, then the other elements become relevant.
If the defendant breached their duty of care to the plaintiff, then it must be shown that this was the cause of the accident. This is what is known as causation. You will need to show that the breach in duty of care directly caused the accident, and any damages or injuries resulting from it, as opposed to some other intervening cause. This is where building a solid case comes in. If you have the right amount of evidence then you have a strong claim against the defendant.
The last element is necessary to qualify for damages. The plaintiff must prove that they suffered some form of damage. These types of damages include medical bills, lost wages, or even pain and suffering. Therefore, in your car accident case, you need to show that you have suffered losses because of the other party’s negligence. Having proof such as the medical report that lays out the injuries you sustained during the accident, then you have a strong case.
Filing a Claim
If all four elements of negligence have been established in your case, then you may be eligible to recover damages for the losses caused. However, it’s important to note that you should have exhausted both your Personal Injury Protection (PDL) and Property Damage Liability (PDL) coverage. In Florida, compensation is reduced in proportion to the plaintiff’s degree of responsibility for the accident. This means that even if the plaintiff was partially at fault, they can still recover damages, but the compensation amount will be reduced based on their level of contribution. Having legal representation is critical, as it helps ensure that you get the compensation you deserve and that your rights remain protected. A Delray Beach car accident lawyer at Kogan & DiSalvo will be able to review your case and recommend the best course of action.
Understanding the nuances of comparative negligence law is critical in ensuring that you get the best outcome. Provided you can successfully establish the four elements of negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for damages caused in a car accident in Florida. Hiring a skilled lawyer is crucial in ensuring that your rights are protected and that you get the best outcome for your claim. They will make sure you are compensated for your accident and get the justice you deserve.