Under Florida law, negligence is the failure to use reasonable care. Negligence is the failure to use the care that a reasonable person would use under the same or similar circumstances or the doing of an act that a reasonable person would not do under the same circumstances.
An intentional tort is harder to prove than a negligent act because it requires proof not only that the act was done but that the person who did it did so intentionally. Intentional torts cover such things as assault and battery, the intentional infliction of emotional distress, or fraud.
When someone who commits a negligent act has insurance the insurance company is responsible for paying any judgment up to the limits of the policy. Many insurance policies do not cover intentional acts but there can often be a gray area between what is intentional and what is negligence. For example, if someone intends to drive over the speed limit, that can still be considered negligence. On the other hand, if someone punches someone in the face that is clearly assault and battery and an intentional tort which may not be covered by insurance.
Regardless of whether the act is intentional or negligent, the plaintiff is required to show proximate cause (also called legal cause). This means that the negligent or intentional act was the direct cause of the damages suffered by the plaintiff. There can be more than one person negligent and both will be liable but the law will require that the jury determine what percentage of fault is applicable to each party.
Contributory or comparative negligence can apply to negligent acts. This means that the plaintiff was also partly responsible for an accident in which case the jury will determine what percentage of fault is attributable to each party
In order to be responsible for an injury, a defendant has to owe a duty of care to the person injured.
Lawyers who specialize in personal injury generally handle both cases of negligence and intentional tort. These lawyers handle these cases on a contingent fee basis meaning they charge a percentage of recovery rather than an hourly fee.
Theodore Babbitt is senior partner in the law firm of Babbitt & Johnson, P.A., and is a member of the Inner Circle of Advocates, which is limited to the top 100 personal injury lawyers in the United States.
Babbitt and Johnson, P.A.
1641 Worthington Road, Suite 100
West Palm Beach FL 33409
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