Experienced Injury Attorneys Assisting Residents of Martin County
Martin County is a beautiful area, nestled along the Treasure Coast region of South Florida. There are several major highways that pass through it, including I-95, the Florida Turnpike, and U.S. Highway 1. Unfortunately, it is therefore not surprising that many serious and sometimes fatal car accidents happen there each year. The injury lawyers at Donaldson & Weston can help Martin County residents assert their rights after being involved in a motor vehicle collision, a slip and fall, or another type of accident.
Seeking Damages through a Negligence Claim
Personal injury cases in Florida generally unfold under a negligence theory of law. Proving a negligence case is a multi-step process that begins with a determination of whether the defendant owed a legal duty of care to the plaintiff. In car and truck accident cases, for example, the duty owed by a motorist is usually defined as how a reasonable driver would have behaved in a similar situation. The second step is showing that the duty was breached. The third and fourth steps consist of demonstrating that the accident was a direct and foreseeable result of the defendant’s conduct, and that the victim incurred damages that are reasonably quantifiable.
Once the elements of a negligence claim have been made out, the jury may award damages to compensate the plaintiff for the injuries suffered due to the defendant’s violation of the applicable standard of care. Such damages may be economic in nature, or representative of tangible losses such as medical expenses, lost wages, and property damage. Noneconomic damages for the plaintiff’s pain and suffering or other subjective forms of harm may also be awarded, and a plaintiff’s spouse may receive payment for loss of consortium in some cases. In addition to these compensatory damages, it is also possible that a defendant may be required to pay punitive damages in particularly egregious cases.
An important consideration in determining a damages award is Florida’s pure comparative fault doctrine. Under this rule, a defendant may seek a reduction in damages proportionate to a plaintiff’s fault in an accident. Unlike some states, however, Florida does not bar recovery in these situations unless the victim was completely responsible for causing the accident.
Each personal injury case is unique and deserves individualized attention. Car accidents, for example, can sometimes involve multiple defendants and several different theories of liability. A thorough investigation early in the case can make a vital difference. In order to protect your rights and ensure compliance with procedural deadlines such as the statute of limitations, it is advisable to consult an experienced injury attorney as soon as possible after an accident.