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Types of Personal Injury Cases In Florida

There are three main categories of personal injury law: 1) unintentional torts, 2) intentional torts, and 3) strict liability. Each category covers different types of cases and has specific criteria for establishing liability.

Unintentional Torts

Unintentional torts refer to cases where the defendant’s actions were accidental or unintended, but can be shown to be caused due to the negligence, carelessness or actions of someone or some institution that had a duty of care. Examples of unintentional torts include:

  • Car accidents caused by poor driving skills, distracted driving, speeding, or running a red light
  • Slip and fall accidents due to a property owner’s failure to maintain safe premises
  • Medical malpractice cases where a healthcare provider’s negligence led to injury or illness
  • Workplace accidents resulting from an employer’s failure to provide a safe working environment

Unintentional torts make up the majority of the personal injury cases in the State of Florida.

Intentional Torts

Intentional torts involve cases where the defendant intentionally caused harm to the plaintiff. These cases often involve intentional criminal acts or intentional infliction of emotional or financial distress. Examples of intentional torts include:

  • Assault and battery
  • False imprisonment
  • Defamation (libel and slander)
  • Intentional infliction of emotional distress
  • Fraud or misrepresentation

In many cases, intentional torts include crimes for which the state’s prosecutor may decide to press charges. Regardless of whether there is a criminal case against the defendant or not, the intentional tort personal injury case will be conducted as a civil case for damages.  Being declared “guilty” in the criminal trial requires a unanimous decision by the jury.  By contrast, being “held liable” in the civil personal injury trial requires a preponderance of evidence.  The different thresholds of the two courts can result in a non-guilty decision in the criminal case and the defendant still losing the personal injury case.  

Strict Liability

Strict liability cases are those where a person or institution is held responsible for injuries or damages regardless of their intent or level of care. These cases might involve inherently dangerous activities or products whether either party knew of the danger ahead of the incident or not. Examples of strict liability cases include:

  • Dog bites or other owned animal attacks
  • Injuries caused by explosions or hazardous materials
  • Product liability cases involving defective or unreasonably dangerous products
  • Environmental pollution or toxic exposure cases
  • Injuries caused by abnormally dangerous activities (e.g.: blasting operations, skydiving)

Injuries caused by abnormally dangerous activities in Florida fall into a special category. Florida courts use a standard from The Restatement of the Law of Torts to determine if an activity is abnormally dangerous. This standard considers factors like the likelihood of harm, the ability to eliminate the risk, and whether the activity is common.

The Importance of a Personal Injury Attorney

The complexities of personal injury law make it such that an attempt at self-representation by a plaintiff often ends in failure or minimal compensation. Accident or attack victims who “go it alone” miss out on the strategic planning and resources that come from being represented by an experienced personal injury law firm.  

One of the main reasons why many victims hesitate to retain a lawyer is because of the perceived cost of legal representation. Fortunately, personal injury law firms largely work on a contingency fee basis.  This means that as an accident or attack victim you pay nothing unless you settle for compensation or are awarded compensation by a court of law.  There is therefore no financial reason not to benefit from legal representation and it is highly recommended that you seek representation as early as possible after an accident.  In fact, in the case of a car accident, it is recommended that you seek legal advice within minutes of the accident, checking first to make sure that you are in a safe location and calling 911 for help from a first responder.

Personal Injury at South Florida Law

At South Florida Law, we have years of experience handling complex personal injury and other civil litigation matters. We have the resources to help you face the challenges of the legal system and achieve the results you need.

We counsel on all commercial dispute resolution mechanisms including mediation, arbitration and courtroom litigation. When it comes to personal injury cases in which victims often face well-funded insurance companies, we believe in achieving justice for the victims of accidents regardless of their financial resources.  As such, when we agree to bring on your personal injury case, we do so on a contingency fee basis.  That means you don’t pay us a dime unless we win your case. Contact us today to get started by reaching out to us via our contact form or by calling (954) 900-8885.

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