How to Prove Negligence in a Car Crash Case in Florida Keys
After a crash in the Florida Keys, many car accident victims wonder, “How am I going to pay for this?” That’s a great question, because car crashes can be very costly. In addition to property damage, you’ll also have to contend with major medical bills, some of which can reach thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars.
It makes sense, then, that you’d like to hold the driver who hit you liable for their negligence. Here’s how a Florida car accident lawyer can prove negligence in your case.
Steps To Proving Negligence in Your Car Accident Case
For the court to give you a damages award, auto accident attorneys must prove that the other driver acted negligently. They’ll have to prove that:
- You were owed a duty of care: This means that the other driver had a duty to protect your safety. For instance, drivers have a duty to obey traffic laws, such as sticking to the speed limit.
- The other driver breached their duty: The driver who hit you must have breached their duty to protect you. Maybe they hit you because they were too busy messing around on their phone to watch the road, for example.
- The breach caused damages to you: Your Florida car accident lawyer must prove a clear link between the driver’s actions and your damages. Any injuries must be obviously related to the accident.
Other Kinds of Negligence for Different Types of Accidents
Negligence can be established in a few other ways, including:
- Negligence per se: This means that an act was inherently negligent because it broke the law. As an example, it’s clearly illegal to drive while drunk. If a drunk driver hit you, your lawyer could establish negligence per se.
- Gross negligence: This includes a serious and intentional disregard for others’ safety. Gross negligence may apply, for instance, if the other driver deliberately rammed your car off the road. In such cases, the court may award you punitive damages, which can be up to nine times greater than compensatory damages.
- Vicarious liability: Vicarious liability applies when another party can be held liable for the defendant’s actions. For example, parents can be held liable for accidents caused by children under 18. In addition, employers, such as trucking companies, are liable for the actions of their employees.
Factors That Can Affect Your Case
One of the biggest factors that can alter the outcome of your case is called comparative negligence. Comparative negligence affects your award based on your portion of liability for the accident.
As of 2023, Florida follows modified comparative negligence rules. This means that if you’re found to be more than 50% liable for the accident, the law bars you from recovering an award.
For example, let’s assume another driver crashes into you at a high rate of speed. At the time of the crash, your tail lights were not working. You may be barred from recovery if a jury finds this factor to be a significant contributing cause of the crash.
Another factor is pre-existing injuries. If you had pre-existing injuries at the time of the crash, these injuries could affect your award. Defense attorneys routinely argue that most, if not all, of the plaintiff’s injuries existed before our incident.
Finally, Florida’s statute of limitations for personal injury claims is yet another factor that could affect your case. In our state, you have two years to file a lawsuit (lowered from four years in 2023). If you miss the deadline, the law bars you from seeking damages.
Contact Our Florida Car Accident Attorneys for Help With Your Case
Car accidents can take a heavy toll on both your health and your wallet. If you intend to sue, it’s smart to reach out to a Florida car accident lawyer as soon as you can. Our attorneys at Florida Keys Injury Lawyers will fight hard to prove negligence in your car accident case.
For a free consultation, call us at (786) 605-8500.