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Negligence “Per Se” and Car Accidents
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If you’ve been injured in a car accident in Florida, then you may be able to sue and recover damages as compensation for your losses. Doing so isn’t always straightforward, however. It can be a challenge to impose liability for negligence. Fortunately, there are tools to make it easier under certain circumstances: negligence per se.
Let’s take a closer look.
Proving Negligence — Challenges
Negligence can be difficult to establish, in some car accident cases. How so? Proving negligence requires that you (the plaintiff) show that:
- The defendant violated the applicable standard of care, and
- The defendant’s violation of the standard of care caused your injuries.
That may seem straightforward, but if you dig into the details, you’ll find that complications that can arise.
The applicable “standard of care” is a fact-based question that changes depending on the circumstances. Essentially, the court will evaluate how a reasonably prudent person (in similar circumstances) would have acted. If they would have acted differently to the defendant — in other words, if the defendant was more reckless, or otherwise failed to take precautions that they should have — then the defendant will be found to have violated the standard of care.
Now, you and the plaintiff are likely to have conflicting arguments as to how a reasonably prudent person would have or should have acted. As such, the standard of care is a moving target, with room for multiple perspectives. The more persuasive your argument, the more likely it is that you’ll be able to establish the defendant’s negligence.
Still, this dynamism can be challenging. As a plaintiff, it’s far easier to show that the defendant was automatically negligent. That way, you don’t have to prove it.
Negligence Per Se — How Does it Work?
In Florida, negligence per se is a form of “automatic” negligence. As a plaintiff, it allows you to avoid having to prove that the defendant engaged in negligence.
So, how does it work?
Florida imposes negligence per se when the defendant violates a public safety regulation, such as a statute or traffic ordinance. If this violation leads to an injury, then the defendant can be held liable for damages.
For example, suppose that you are injured in a car accident at a traffic light. It turns out that the defendant-driver ran the red light and collided with your vehicle in the intersection. Under these circumstances, the violation of the law (i.e., prohibiting driving through a red light) is considered negligence per se. All you have to show, then, is that their violation led to your injuries — which in this case, it did. Liability can be imposed.
Contact Alley Clark Greiwe for Legal Representation
Here at Alley, Clark & Greiwe, our attorneys have decades of experience representing plaintiffs in a wide range of personal injury disputes, including car accident litigation.
Over the years, we have gained a reputation as thoughtful, effective, and client-focused advocates. Unlike many firms, we work closely with our clients throughout the litigation process. This approach helps us gain insight into the unique details of the case, and gives us a negotiating advantage at an early stage.
If you’ve been injured in a Florida accident, We encourage you to get in touch with an experienced Tampa car accident lawyer at Alley, Clark & Greiwe. Our attorneys are standing by to evaluate your case and provide further guidance.