In the state of Florida, as in other states, the main aim of tort law is to right civil wrongs for an individual who has been injured or endured suffering or loss as a result of the criminal, negligent, or reckless actions of another. In righting those wrongs, tort claims provide economic relief to the individual and, hopefully, prevent the same damage from happening to others.
The amount of compensation the plaintiff receives in a civil lawsuit varies depending on many factors. Read on to learn more about Florida tort law and how the professional personal injury attorneys of Olsen Law Firm can help you navigate the entire legal process.
Call us at (352) 671-9777 to speak with a member of our Ocala, Fl, team who can answer your questions and set up a free consultation regarding your case.
What is Florida Tort Law?
Tort law originates in the Common Law that began in the courts of English kings following the Norman conquest. The word “tort” has its roots in French and Latin, meaning “wrong” or “twisted.”
The understanding of tort law has been reexamined in recent times, with tort reform seen as a significant issue facing the legal and legislative systems. However, tort law is necessary to pursue and achieve justice in our civil legal system.
Tort law is essentially the law of wrongful injuries that protects people from wrongdoers and requires compensation of some kind for the injured party, usually in the form of money. Tort law also protects and recovers damages for an injury sustained by defective or unsafe products.
Torts are the largest category of civil lawsuits and include an extensive range of personal injury cases. All tort law claims fall under one of three main types:
- Intentional acts: involve deliberately inflicting injury or damage to another, such as assault, battery, fraud, defamation, false imprisonment, or infliction of emotional distress.
- Negligent acts: when an individual carelessly fails to do their duty or what a reasonable person would have done under the specific circumstances. Negligence torts may include vehicle accidents, “slip-and-fall” accidents, and medical malpractice.
- Strict liability: cases where responsibility for the injury rests with the defendant without proving intention or negligence. Defective product cases are an excellent example of a strict liability tort.
Negligence Torts and Contributory Fault
According to Title XLV of the Florida Statutes, which deals with Florida tort law, contributory fault chargeable to the plaintiff may not prevent them from recovering damages. That means that even if the plaintiff contributed in some way to their injury or loss, the negligence of the defendant is still the primary cause of injury, and the court may still award damages. However, the court may reduce the damages in proportion to the plaintiff’s contributory fault.
What You Must Prove in a Florida Tort Law Case
For a personal injury attorney to win in favor of the plaintiff in a tort case, they must prove to the court four things.
Though the concept of duty is sometimes challenging to define, in all cases, there must be a standard based on law, common knowledge, or reasonable care that, when followed, prevents harm. Failure to do so results in a breach of duty.
Breach of Duty
Failure to comply with the duty mentioned above results in a breach of duty. Breach of duty may be intentional, such as someone hitting another person when they know it is wrong, or it may be negligent, such as running an unseen stop sign.
On the plaintiff’s behalf, the personal injury attorney must prove that the defendant caused their losses or injuries. This can be complicated if the plaintiff already had pre-existing injuries or illnesses.
In a civil lawsuit, “damages” describes two things:
- The injuries or losses suffered by the plaintiff, including lost income or wages, pain and suffering, medical bills, and even loss of life.
- The monetary amount awarded by the jury or as a compensation settlement.
Depending on the cause of the injuries or losses, the court may also levy punitive damages against the defendant. For example, the court may require a company that manufactures a defective product that causes harm to change its manufacturing and inspection processes to prevent the injury or loss from occurring again.
Three Benefits of Florida Tort Law
In recent years, tort law has come under much scrutiny, with civil lawsuits attributed to frivolous claims. Let’s look at why tort law is beneficial and necessary.
First of all, civil lawsuits enable an injured plaintiff or plaintiff’s family to receive fair compensation for the injury or damage done to them. The effects of intentional or negligent harm can be long-lasting, affecting not only the life of the plaintiff but their family and community for years to come.
Compensatory damages in the form of money alleviate the losses suffered by the plaintiff and their family and free Ocala taxpayers from the burden of paying for a wrongdoer’s act as well.
Civil lawsuits give the community awareness of the wrongdoing that the perpetrator might otherwise hide from the public. Civil trials are accessible to both the press and the public, shining a light on the legal situation involved and preventing others from being injured in the future. Disclosure through a civil lawsuit may also promote the course of justice in other communities for other individuals.
Civil lawsuit verdicts send a powerful message to wrongdoers in the local Ocala community and beyond. A ruling in a case may influence corporations to change their behavior or recall products before they harm people, saving countless lives.
Experienced Personal Injury Attorneys in Ocala, FL
At Olsen Law Firm, we’re ready to assist you with all of your Florida tort law questions and case issues. Led by Pam Olsen, Esq., we bring thirty years of experience representing injured people in Ocala, the “Horse Capital of the World,” and throughout Florida.
If you are ready to start your Florida tort law case, call Olsen Law Firm today at (352) 671-9777 and schedule a consultation. Our firm has successfully handled all types of tort claims, including intentional, negligent, and strict liability. We may be able to assist you in pursuing fair compensation.
Ms. Olsen has practiced law since 1992. During her law school education and throughout career she knew, if it is not about people, she is not interested. Everything about people interests Ms. Olsen from the simple details of living to the most profound. She began her law career in a skyscraper in downtown Miami representing corporate interests. Within a VERY short time, Pam knew that side of the things in the world was not for her.