Establishing the Duty of Care in a Florida Personal Injury Lawsuit

After experiencing an injury because of another’s negligence, an accident victim may be able to collect damages for their losses. Under Florida’s negligence laws, the plaintiff must establish that the at-fault party was responsible for the incident and ensuing injuries. While this may seem straightforward, the law has many nuances that make recovery challenging for many Florida accident victims. Injury plaintiffs must meet the four primary prongs of a personal injury lawsuit to recover damages successfully. In addition, they must be able to overcome any defenses the at-fault party poses.

Broadly speaking, a defendant may be liable for negligence if they failed to use reasonable care. Reasonable care is that which a similarly situated person would use under the same circumstances. Negligence may include the failure to do something that a reasonable person would do or doing something that a reasonable person would not do. The four elements of a Florida negligence lawsuit include establishing that the defendant owed the victim a duty, they breached that duty, that breach was the cause of the plaintiff’s harm, and the plaintiff suffered compensable losses. Defendants can refute any part of a plaintiff’s claim, and if they are successful, the claim will fail. As such, it is vital that claimants contact an attorney to ensure that all elements of their claim are met.

The most critical inquiry in these cases is whether the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care. In Florida, the duty of care is the other party’s legal responsibility to the injury victim. A person’s duty of care depends on many factors, including their age and relationship status to the victim. For instance, there are different duties of care for private citizens and their actions towards one another instead of the professional duty of care a medical provider has towards their patient. While a private citizen maintains a duty to drive safely and obey traffic rules, a nurse or doctor has a stricter duty of care to those they are treating than the average person. Similarly, the duty changes when the at-fault party is a business owner.

Regardless of the relationship, establishing that the other party owed the victim a duty is necessary to proceed with the claim. For instance, a Florida court recently reversed a trial court’s summary judgment order. The defendant argued that they did not owe a legal duty of care to the plaintiff’s deceased wife, and the trial court agreed. However, on appeal, the plaintiff contended that the defendant failed to meet its burden establishing that they did not owe a duty of care. The appellate court agreed with the plaintiff and reversed the decision, and remanded the case for further proceedings.

Have You Suffered Injuries in a Florida Accident?

If you or someone you love has suffered injuries in a Florida accident, contact the personal injury attorneys at Friedman Rodman Frank & Estrada, P.A. The South Florida lawyers at our office have extensive experience handling all types of personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits. In addition, our firm has successfully advocated on behalf of and represented clients in matters involving Florida premises liability claims, defective products, and medical malpractice. Contact an attorney on our team at 877-448-8585 to discuss how you can recover compensation for your injuries.


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