When we talk about Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawsuits, we’re referring to cases that fall under the umbrella of legal “torts.” As our Broward personal injury lawyers can explain, a tort is an act – or omission – that results in injury or harm to another for which courts can impose legal liability.
In most Florida personal injury cases, it’s necessary to prove that the “tortfeasor” (aka alleged wrongdoer or defendant) owed a legal duty of care to the person who was hurt. By breaching that duty of care and causing injury, the tortfeasor is responsible to pay financial damages to those adversely impacted.
There are many different kinds of torts. But when it comes to Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawsuits, there are a few types we see crop up time and again.
1. South Florida Car Accidents
Auto accidents are the root of most personal injury claims in Florida. All motorists owe one another – as well as passengers, pedestrians, bicyclists, and other road users – a duty of care to obey all traffic rules and use reasonable caution behind the wheel. If they violate traffic laws and someone gets hurt, they can be held liable. Even if they don’t explicitly violate the law but failed to use reasonable care when driving, they can be held legally liable in a Florida personal injury case.
It’s worth noting that (at least for now) Florida is a no-fault car accident state. What that means is that all motorists are required to carry a type of insurance coverage called personal injury protection, or PIP. This coverage will kick in and cover up to $10,000 in damages (medical bills, lost wages, etc.) to the insured and other parties covered by the policy – regardless of who is at fault. However, if the injuries sustained in the crash meet the “serious injury threshold” as outlined in F.S. 627.737, those hurt can step outside that no-fault system and pursue financial recovery from those who were at-fault in the crash. (Generally, a serious injury is defined as one that results in significant or permanent loss of a key body function, permanent scarring or disfigurement, or death.)
Florida follows a system of pure comparative fault, per F.S. 768.81, which basically means everyone is expected to bear legal responsibility for damages that is proportionate to their level of fault. (This applies in many different types of Florida personal injury cases.) As it pertains to Fort Lauderdale car accidents, if the plaintiff (person filing the claim) is found to bear a percentage of the blame for what happened, their financial recovery will be reduced by that percentage. For example, let’s say you’re injured in a crash with another driver, you suffer $100,000 in damages, but are found 20 percent at fault. The most you could collect from the other driver would be $80,000.
2. Medical Malpractice Lawsuits
Medical malpractice cases are those that involve doctors or other health care professionals who fail to provide care that meets basic standards given their specialty and facility.
South Florida medical malpractice cases require the testimony of a plaintiff expert witness of the same skill and practice area as the defendant. What’s more, while most personal injury cases have a four-year statute of limitations, medical malpractice cases must be filed within two years.
3. Product Liability Lawsuits
Companies and organizations that design, manufacture, and distribute products to the public can be held legally responsible if their products hurt someone who is using it the way it’s designed. These entities can also be found liable for using products incorrectly, so long as such use was reasonably foreseeable.
Fort Lauderdale product liability cases fall under the umbrella of “strict liability,” a legal theory that means those harmed don’t have to prove negligence or that the defendant necessarily did anything wrong. Strict liability can also apply in dog bite cases, as well as those involving abnormally dangerous conditions or inherently hazardous activities. (Defendants may argue that the person injured knowingly assumed the risk, but a skilled injury lawyer will know how best to challenge this defense.)
4. Slip-and-Fall Lawsuits
Slip-and-fall lawsuits are a type of premises liability case. That is, the person or entity who owns or controls the property has a responsibility to ensure the site is reasonably safe – especially if they’re welcoming members of the public there for the owner’s financial benefit.
Fort Lauderdale slip-and-fall lawsuits have gotten more difficult to win over the last decade, thanks to the passage of F.S. 768.0755. This provision of the law stipulates that if someone slips and falls on a transitory foreign substance in a business establishment, the person who is injured has to prove the business had actual or constructive knowledge of the dangerous condition and failed to take reasonable action to remedy it. Constructive knowledge can be proven with circumstantial evidence tending to show the condition had existed for a substantial length of time or occurred with such regularity that it was foreseeable. That’s a rather high proof burden. Working with an experienced Broward personal injury lawyer will be your best shot at winning.
If you are injured in Broward County and need some insight into your legal options for financial recovery, our dedicated legal team can help answer your questions and – if hired – help formulate an effective strategy to obtain just compensation.
Call Fort Lauderdale Injury Attorney Richard Ansara at (954) 761-4011. Serving Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties.
F.S. 768.81, Comparative Fault