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Negligence under Florida Law

To bring a negligence action in Orlando, you must be able to establish four elements by a preponderance of the evidence. You must be able to show (1) that somebody owed you a legal duty, (2) that the legal duty which was owed to you was breached, (3) that the breach of this duty was the proximate cause of your injuries, and (4) that you suffered damage as a result. Even if you are partially at fault for the incident, the doctrine of comparative fault in Florida means that you can still recover damages, your award will just be reduced by the percentage equal to your own liability. If the accident is more than 50% your fault, you will not be able to recover damages.

Legal Duty

The first element necessary to establish a negligence claim is the existence of a legal duty. This means that you must be able to establish that the defendant had a legal obligation to use reasonable care to protect you from unreasonable and foreseeable risks. People meet their legal duty when they conform to the standard of care, which in Florida is that which a “reasonably prudent person” exercises.

Breach of Duty

The second element of negligence is to establish that the legal duty was breached. This means that the person that owed the duty failed to adhere to the standard of care required for that situation. You can prove breach of duty using direct evidence or indirect, or circumstantial evidence.

Causation

Proximate cause is a necessary element of an Orlando negligence claim. This means that the causation must be a direct result of the defendant’s acts or omissions. There cannot be interruptions in the causal chain by unforeseeable forces. If the defendant should have foreseen an increased chance of injury as a result of the breach of duty, then causation is established.

Damages

Damage is the final element required for a negligence claim. This means you must be able to prove you were materially damaged as a result of the breach. Economic loss as well as pain and suffering damages are recoverable in a negligence action, and in some rare occasions punitive damages are also available. Future lost earnings can also be recovered, if you can prove that the loss was a foreseeable result of the defendant’s negligence.

 

In any case, it is always a good idea to contact an experienced Orlando, FL personal injury lawyer TODAY.

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