In a personal injury action, the plaintiff usually bases the case on negligence when the injuries are caused by accident. Negligence requires a breach of duty that is the actual and proximate cause of damages with no defenses.

A duty is owed only to a plaintiff in the foreseeable zone of danger. For example, Gayle, a driver, owes a duty of reasonable care to people on the street. If she hits Paula, while Paula is walking on the street, Gayle owes Paula a duty. Paula is within the foreseeable zone of danger.

The standard of care required of an individual is that of a reasonable person under similar circumstances. A child must act as a reasonable person of like age, intelligence, and experience. However, when a child engages in an adult activity, such as driving, s/he is required to conform to the same standard of care as an adult engaged in such activity.

A defendant is liable to a plaintiff for personal injuries only when the actions of the defendant cause the plaintiff’s injury. If a plaintiff’s injury would not have occurred but for defendant’s act or omission, then defendant’s conduct is the cause in fact of the harm. If the injury would have occurred despite defendant’s conduct, there is no cause in fact.

A defendant is liable for foreseeable injuries suffered by individuals within the zone of danger created by defendant’s unreasonable conduct. There must be no superseding causes, which are unforeseeable intervening forces that occur after the defendant’s conduct and result in unforeseeable harms.

Negligence requires actual injury so if the plaintiff does not have any injuries, the defendant does not need to pay anything.

If the plaintiff contributes to the injuries, the plaintiff may lose out on damages. For instance, a person who gets hit by a car while jaywalking contributes to the injuries.

Sometimes a party that did not cause the accident may be liable to pay. For example, an employer will be vicariously liable for tortuous acts committed by its employee if the acts occur within the scope of employment. To be within the scope of employment, the conduct need not be actually authorized. A payer is not liable for the acts of independent contractors unless a tort involves a non-delegable duty, such as the duty of care owed to an invitee. An individual is an independent contractor if the payer has the right to control or direct only the result of the work and not what will be done and how it will be done.

A spouse of someone injured may recover against a defendant for injuring his/her spouse and depriving him/her of the benefits of the spousal relationship including the loss of companionship, comfort, society, and sexual services.

When suffering injuries from a negligence claim, engage a prepared Florida personal injury attorney who knows how to establish the elements.