How to Prove Negligence in a Florida Auto Accident
Whether you’ve been involved in a minor fender-bender, or you’ve been severely hurt in a major car accident, you want to know what you need to do in order to obtain the compensation you deserve. You’re certain that the other driver’s recklessness was to blame for the accident, but how do you go about proving that’s the case? After all, it’s very unlikely that other motorist is going to accept all of the blame out of the goodness of their heart.
As you might expect, proving that person’s negligence is going to be a fairly involved process, one that will require uncovering the evidence it takes to make your case as strong as possible. That’s why you’re going to need a car accident attorney who has a great deal of experience doing just that.
Jones Law Group attorneys not only have that experience, we also have the resources it takes to perform a detailed investigation into the accident, gathering the proof you’ll need to win your case. If you would like to schedule a free consultation to learn more about how we may be able to help, contact us online or give us a call at (727) 571-1333.
What is Negligence?
The concept of negligence is very easy to understand. It simply means that someone fails to act in a reasonable manner, or doesn’t act in a way that other, reasonable people would act in the same situation. In regard to a car wreck, negligence takes place when a driver doesn’t act in a responsible, reasonable manner, and causes an accident that leads to property damage and/or injuries to other motorists.
Fault and Negligence in Florida
Florida law follows the principle of “pure comparative negligence.” This means that both drivers in an accident may share fault. The percentage of fault assigned to each driver will determine the amount of money they may be able to receive.
Let’s say Driver A is hit by Driver B after Driver B ran a red light. But Driver A was texting on their smartphone at the time. Driver A’s insurance company performs an investigation and decides that Driver A was 20% to blame for the accident. Driver A’s damages total $100,000. However, that 20% will be deducted, leaving Driver A with $80,000.
But even if the insurance company of the other driver claims you were partially responsible, that doesn’t mean you really were. Your attorney will perform an investigation on your behalf, working to prove you should bear zero responsibility.
The Four Steps to Proving Negligence
In order to do that, your attorney will have to prove four things – there was a duty of care, the other driver breached that duty, that breach was the direct cause of your injury, and you incurred financial losses, or damages, due to the breach. Here’s some more information on each of these elements that must be proven.
1. Duty of Care
This is the easiest element to prove, because every motorist owes every other motorist sharing the road with them a duty of care. In other words, they have to do everything they can to keep everyone else safe. This duty not only extends to other motorists, but also pedestrians, bicyclists, motorcyclists and all others on the road.
2. Breach of Duty
The next step will be to prove that the negligent driver breached the duty of care by acting in an unreasonable manner. They may have been talking on their phone and not paying attention to the road, or they may have been behind the wheel while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
But what if the accident occurred due to the other driver’s car malfunctioning in some way? That could still be a breach of duty. For example, if a tire blowout causes a wreck, the driver may have been negligent in checking the tire. They may have chosen to drive the car despite the fact the tire was dangerously low on air.
Proving a breach of duty can get complicated. This is one of the biggest reasons why you’ll need to hire an attorney as soon as possible.
The third element to prove is that the other driver’s negligence was the reason you were hurt. It’s typically fairly easy to do so. It doesn’t take much to show that if the driver had not run that red light, you wouldn’t have a broken arm.
4. Resulting Damages
Finally, your attorney will have to prove you incurred financial losses due to the negligence of that other party. You’ve not only accumulated medical bills, you’ve also probably lost wages because of the time you’ve had to miss from work.
How Can an Attorney Help Me After a Car Accident?
Again, it will take solid evidence to prove all four elements listed above. Your best chance of obtaining that evidence is to hire an attorney as soon as you can so an investigation can begin. The sooner you find legal representation, the sooner that investigation can start. Time is of the essence. The accident scene can change very quickly due to weather conditions, construction and other factors. That could lead to critical evidence being lost.
Your attorney can help in other ways as well. If the negligent driver’s insurance company refuses to pay you what you deserve, your legal representative can negotiate with the insurer on your behalf. If it still won’t offer a fair settlement, your attorney will be ready to take the case to court if necessary.
Contact Jones Law Group Today
It’s obviously incredibly stressful to have to deal with the consequences of a serious car accident. But if you have an attorney working to protect your rights, that will help relieve a great deal of that stress. You can focus on rest on recovery while your attorney works to obtain the compensation that you have coming.