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. Continue reading