Comparative Fault and Negligence

Slip and fall accidents due to unsafe conditions or inadequate maintenance on another party’s property can cause serious injuries, such as broken bones, head trauma, and spinal cord injuries. The Port St. Lucie attorneys at Donaldson & Weston are dedicated to making sure that victims of these accidents get the financial support that they are entitled to receive from those responsible for their injuries.

Premises Liability Attorneys Assisting Port St. Lucie Residents

People act carelessly all the time in various situations. However, when this carelessness is severe and leads to someone’s injuries, legal action may be appropriate. When a slip and fall accident results in significant injuries, multiple individuals, entities, and even victims themselves may be partially at fault. The Port St. Lucie premises liability lawyers at Donaldson & Weston help victims injured on another person’s property or the property of a business determine who is liable for their harm, as well as whether the concept of comparative fault or negligence may apply. When the premises are owned and occupied by different parties, or when dangerous conditions have multiple sources of origin, such as a manufacturer as well as a supplier, it may be difficult to assess who is responsible for which aspects of a victim’s harm. Our firm carefully investigates the details surrounding a serious accident so that our premises liability attorneys have all of the information available to advocate vigorously on behalf of our clients. If you have been injured while visiting someone else’s property, you should contact our office today to find out more about your legal rights.

Comparative Fault and Negligence Under Florida Law

Negligence exists when one party has breached a duty owed to another person to act reasonably under the circumstances, causing that person’s injuries and resulting in damages. A premises liability attorney will tell you that in premises liability cases, such as those based on defective property conditions, the relationship of the two parties determines which duty is owed. For example, business owners owe the highest duty of care to patrons visiting a store or another commercial property for a business purpose. These owners and occupiers are required to engage in regular inspections of the premises, and they must remedy any unsafe conditions that they find. When a customer is injured at a business, therefore, they must prove that the owner knew or should have known about a dangerous hazard, had reasonable inspections been taking place.

In Florida, courts determine the amount of damages awarded in premises liability claims based on a pure comparative fault scheme of liability. This means that multiple negligent parties can be held accountable for a victim’s injuries. Each at-fault party is responsible for damages in proportion to the degree of liability found. For instance, in a situation in which a contractor improperly installs uneven pavement on a sidewalk, leading a victim to trip and fall, the contractor could be found negligent as well as the party that controls the sidewalk. Each defendant’s degree of negligence may depend on how obvious the defect was, as well as whether or not measures were taken to warn visitors or fix the issue. Premises liability lawyers help in these cases.

Florida’s pure comparative fault theory of liability allows plaintiffs to bring a claim against any negligent party, regardless of whether or not plaintiffs themselves are partly or even mostly to blame. This is in contrast with other states that follow a “modified” comparative fault scheme, which bars plaintiffs from compensation when they are 50 (or sometimes 51) percent or more accountable for causing their own injuries. Therefore, even if a victim is determined to be 70 percent responsible for causing an accident, other at-fault parties can be pursued to account for the remaining 30 percent of the damages sustained. A victim who succeeds in a premises liability case may recover compensation for past and future medical costs, diminished earning capacity, loss of income, pain and suffering, and other damages. Call a premises liability lawyer for more information today.