What Does Fault Really Mean In An Accident Case?

Florida is home to nearly 20 million residents, making it the 3rd most populous state in the country. It's a diverse state, but one thing holds true – the large population means that accidents occur regularly, and those accidents can have a profound impact on the lives of those who are involved.

While overcoming the physical and mental injuries are the first priority for anyone, there's another issue that can linger for far longer: the financial impact an accident can have on your life. Accidents can cause serious strain on your bank account due to things like lost wages due to time away from work, medical bills that pile up, and more. These expenses have led to serious depression for many due to the fact that they have to struggle to overcome not only their injuries, but their bills.

If you've been involved in an accident that wasn't caused by you, there is a good chance that you can contact a Florida personal injury lawyer and get assistance from them. They'll review your case and help determine whether or not you have the right to seek legal compensation for your injuries.

The key to determining whether or not you can do so will come down to fault – or more specifically, fault as it relates to negligence and recklessness. Under Florida law, if a person or entity acts in a negligent or reckless manner and those actions directly lead to the accident in question, that person or entity can be held liable for damages. In other words, they will be held responsible for the accident and as such will most likely have to pay for your expenses related to your injuries.

In auto accidents, potential negligence could include:

  • Drunk driving

  • Speeding

  • Texting while driving

  • Distracted driving

  • Manufacture defects

  • Poor road design

  • Other types of reckless driving

Essentially, a lawyer will need to identify the root cause of the accident and then go about proving who was at fault and that their negligent actions led to the injuries you sustained.

But with other types of accidents like premises liability – slip and fall accidents as they're often called – things can get more complex. The reason is that an attorney has to show that the property owner or manager was fully aware of the safety issue and that they did nothing to correct it or warn about it. For example:

  • A staircase handrail is loose, and has been loose for weeks without being addressed by the property manager.

  • A sidewalk area isn't lit properly and creates significant risk to those who use it.

It's important to understand that for something like a spill, things can get difficult for an attorney. The reason is that if a spill occurs and the property owner or manager isn't aware of it, there are no grounds for pursuing a case. Since they didn't know about it, they couldn't have reasonably cleaned up the spill or put up warning signs concerning it. However, if they were aware of the spill and did nothing to correct it, then there could be grounds for a lawsuit – of course, proving it can be difficult.

Additionally, there is the question of reason. This refers to whether or not a reasonable person would know that something was risky. For example, if you slip on the deck around a pool you won't be able to sue based on the slippery nature of the floor – a reasonable person would know that the floor is slippery and act accordingly. It's another complexity added to the personal injury law field that is often misunderstood.

As you can see, all personal injury lawsuits in the state come down to proving who is at fault and whether or not they were negligent and reckless in their actions. If those two factors are proven, you may have the grounds to seek financial compensation. A good lawyer will help you figure out whether or not you have a solid case and explain why or why not.