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Injuries NOT Caused by Negligence: Overview of Florida Personal Injury Laws

The vast majority of fatal and injury-causing accidents in Florida occur because of negligence, but the term means more than mere carelessness in the practice of law. Negligence is a theory of liability that requires a claimant to prove certain sets of facts to prevail in a personal injury claim. The standard is how a reasonably prudent person would act under the same circumstances as the accident in which you were injured. A departure from this standard may represent a breach of the legal duty of care, entitling you to recover damages from the at-fault party. 

However, not all personal injury claims are based upon negligence. Intentional misconduct and acts done with knowledge of the dangers may NOT fall under this concept, but you may still have legal remedies. It is critical to consult with a Miami personal injury lawyer about your options, and read on for a summary about accidents caused by factors other than negligence.

Basic Definitions for Personal Injury Liability

Knowing what negligence means and how it impacts a personal injury case, you can better understand other theories of liability.

Intentional Misconduct: If someone knowingly, purposefully engaged in an act that caused harm, you might have a claim for intentional injuries. It is irrelevant whether the individual meant to cause injuries; what matters is that he or she acted with intent, ultimately leading to your injuries. Examples include assault, battery, and related attacks. Most intentional misconduct is also a crime.

Recklessness: While less extreme than intentional acts, recklessness may be grounds for liability in a personal injury case. Under Florida law, the definition encompasses conduct that is so lacking in terms of reasonable care that it constitutes a conscious disregard for life. Recklessness may be a factor in:

  • Auto crashes caused by drunk driving or drag racing;
  • Accidents on property when the owner knew of a dangerous condition and concealed it; or,
  • A medical malpractice case, if the “physician” is not properly licensed.

Culpable Negligence: Just below recklessness is the theory of liability termed culpable negligence in Florida. This concept refers to a disregard of human life and the safety of others who might be exposed to a wrongdoer’s misconduct. One of the most high profile instances of culpable negligence occurred in South Florida after Hurricane Irma in 2017: Operators of several nursing homes abandoned residents when the storm showed signs that it would directly hit.

Impacts for Monetary Damages in Personal Injury Cases

The reason that forms of liability other than negligence are important is Florida’s law on damages. Punitive damages may be available under certain circumstances, which means you may be entitled to additional amounts beyond compensation for your economic and noneconomic losses.

Discuss Legal Options with a Miami Personal Injury Attorney

As you can see, personal injury cases can be based upon different theories of liability, and knowing the details about each is critical to recovering the full compensation you deserve. To learn more about your remedies and punitive damages, please contact Gerson & Schwartz, PA. We can set up a no-cost case review at our offices in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, or West Palm Beach, FL.

Florida Justice Association
The National Center for Victims of Crime
outh Florida Legal Guide
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