Most people consider Florida one of the most favorable states to live in and visit. But the congested roadways and negligent drivers in many areas put road users at risk for accidents. Florida had the fifth-highest traffic fatality rate throughout the US in 2022.
Although the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) is doing its best to secure the state, road safety remains a significant concern. In the first quarter of 2023, the Florida crash dashboard recorded 30,107 crashes with 265 fatalities and 19,883 injuries.
Accidents will happen, but you can reduce your risks by driving defensively. Knowing the Florida cities where accidents are common can also help you take better precautions and prevent potential crashes.
Tampa, Orlando, Palm Beach, Cape Coral, Lehigh Acres, and Naples are some cities with the most car crashes yearly. But Lee County and its cities like Fort Myers (also known as Ft. Myers) had one of the highest traffic fatalities in 2022. Located in Southwest Florida, the area is prone to different types of accidents because of its busy, multi-lane highways.
Did you or a family member sustain injuries in negligence accidents in Fort Myers? Consider filing a personal injury claim to recover the compensation you need. In many personal injury cases like motor vehicle crashes, accident victims sustained injuries because of someone else’s negligent actions.
While negligence is the leading cause of many personal injury accidents, it’s not always easy to establish. An experienced accident attorney can help prove that the other party was negligent and fight for your rights.
A competent advocate is crucial if you are in an accident in Fort Myers or anywhere in Florida. Because it is a pure comparative negligence state, your final recovery depends on your contribution to the accident. You want a lawyer that can minimize your fault and maximize your compensation.
Most Common Types of Negligence Accidents in Fort Myers
Negligence, in one form or another, is responsible for nearly all types of accidents. But how do you identify if the person acted negligently? It occurs when one party fails to use reasonable care under specific circumstances.
Reasonable care refers to a degree of caution and concern for others’ safety. It’s the minimum standard that a rational person would exercise in the same situation. If someone violates this and causes property damage and injury, there’s likely a case of misconduct and negligence.
Accidents involving negligent acts can occur in different forms. The common negligence accidents you may encounter in and around Ft. Meyers are below.
There are many contributing factors to car crashes, and driver negligence is one of them. Drivers can be negligent in several ways when operating a motor vehicle. However, disregarding traffic rules is the most obvious example.
Evidence of traffic law violations is an excellent way to show that the other driver was driving negligently. Note that every case is different. But below are frequent traffic violations in Florida that could lead to car collisions, truck accidents, and other motor vehicle crashes.
- Driving under the influence
- Tailgating or following too closely
- Driving without lights
- Improper lane changes
Slip and fall accidents
There are numerous causes of slip-and-fall accidents. Sometimes, it results from the injured victim’s unsuitable footwear or careless behaviors. But in many instances, a slip-and-fall accident is someone else’s fault.
Uneven pavement, wet floors, or other unseen hazards can cause you to lose balance. Suppose it happens because property owners fail to keep the premises reasonably safe. In that case, they may bear liability for your accident and resulting injuries.
However, premises owners are not eager to accept responsibility unless there’s sufficient proof of negligence. It’s not enough to demonstrate a dangerous condition existed on the property.
Under Section 768.0755 of the Florida Statutes, you must prove the owner had constructive knowledge. They knew or should have known the hazard existed and failed to fix or warn about them.
When medical professionals make a mistake that causes significant harm to a patient, it may be medical malpractice. A medical procedure that fails to give you the desired outcome doesn’t qualify as malpractice.
Medical negligence accidents must involve injuries or death resulting from a medical professional’s error or poor judgment. Here are a few examples of medical negligence cases in Florida:
- Delayed or incorrect diagnosis
- Surgical errors
- Improper administration of anesthesia
- Medication errors
- Unnecessary surgical procedures
What constitutes negligence in Fort Myers, Florida?
Establishing negligence is crucial to make the other party liable for the accident. Otherwise, you may fail to obtain compensation for your injuries. The following are four essential elements to prove that someone acted negligently.
Duty of care
This duty refers to someone’s legal obligation to take reasonable care of others’ health, safety, and well-being. Generally, a duty of care exists when the law recognizes a relationship between the parties involved.
For instance, a driver has a duty of care to obey traffic rules, pay attention to road conditions and drive responsibly. A medical professional is legally responsible for providing a standard level of care for their patients. A property or business owner must keep visitors safe on their premises.
Establishing this element is essential when proving negligence and filing a successful claim. The person must owe you a duty of care before you can take legal action based on negligence.
Breach of duty
To sustain a negligence claim, you must also show that the other party breached their duty of care. This means they did not fulfill their legal obligation or failed to exercise the reasonable level of care required of them.
A driver breaches their legal obligation by violating traffic laws or driving unsafely. Doctors also breach their duty if they administer the incorrect drugs or prematurely discharge a patient from care. A store owner ignoring a spilled liquid on the floor where customers travel is also breaching legal duty.
It’s typical for insurance companies to argue that the injury you sustained isn’t related to the defendant’s misconduct. That’s why causation is another vital element when establishing negligence.
When proving someone else’s negligent actions, it’s critical to demonstrate that breaking their duty of care caused your injuries. It is challenging, especially when multiple parties are involved or you’re dealing with a medical malpractice case.
For example, a doctor prescribed the wrong medication, and you suffered organ failure. In this case, you need expert testimony to connect the physician’s error to your health issue.
There must be evidence that the injuries you sustained because of a breach of duty resulted in actual damages. Typically, damages refer to the economic and non-economic losses you suffered. You may not have a valid cause of action without proof of these damages.
Economic damages are direct monetary losses related to the accident, such as medical expenses, vocational rehabilitation costs, lost wages, and other out-of-pocket expenses. These are easier to prove with medical bills and invoices.
Meanwhile, non-economic damages refer to intangible losses, such as pain and suffering and emotional distress. In some instances, it may also include loss of enjoyment and consortium. Unlike non-economic losses, these are more challenging to quantify because of their subjective nature.
Relevant Florida Negligence Laws You Should Know
States have differing laws on negligence, which may affect the amount of compensation accident victims may receive. Besides proving the essential elements of negligence, it’s crucial to understand the type of negligence rules your state follows.
Negligence laws factor significantly into your rights to compensation. Below we discuss various sections of the Florida Statutes laws that may affect your case.
Pure comparative negligence rule
Section 1768.81 describes the state’s contributory fault rule, which is pure comparative negligence. It allows injured victims to pursue damages even if they partially contributed to the accident. You can claim compensation for your losses if the defendant is at least one percent at fault.
But this approach also reduces the amount of your compensation by the percentage of your fault. For example, you’re 70% at fault for the accident, and your total award is $60,000. The amount recoverable in this case is only 30%, or $18,000.
No-fault insurance system
Florida also has a no-fault insurance system. Under this system, your insurance company would pay for the injuries and losses you suffered regardless of fault.
Section 320.02 mandates drivers to have a minimum level of insurance before they can register their motor vehicle or operate it on public roads.
You can only go outside this no-fault rule and secure compensation from the at-fault party if you sustained serious injuries under Section 316.027.
Why hire an attorney after a negligent accident in Fort Myers?
Negligence laws in Florida can be complex to navigate. But the assistance of an accident lawyer can help you understand how it works and make all the difference in your case.
Unfortunately, some people are reluctant to hire an accident attorney. The following explains why seeking legal counsel is crucial after sustaining harm in a negligent accident.
Provide legal guidance
Many injured victims make critical mistakes after an accident, hurting their chances for maximum compensation. But an experienced accident lawyer can guide you every step of the way. They can provide you with an objective and honest assessment of your case. Since accident attorneys know the ins and outs of the law, they can also advise on what to do and avoid.
Gather vital evidence for your case
Insurance companies will only accept your claim with sufficient proof. Note that it takes a knowledge of what documents to gather and how to preserve and use them in your case. Without an attorney, it’s possible to miss essential details.
But an experienced lawyer will ensure you have all the vital evidence to support and win your case. They will do all the leg work on your behalf, from obtaining police reports and witness statements to documenting your injuries and medical bills.
Negotiate with insurance adjusters
Negotiating with insurance adjusters can be an uphill battle. They typically use tactics to delay or deny liability to minimize the insurance company’s exposure. Because adjusters know that accident victims don’t always understand their rights, offering a lowball settlement is one of their regular practices.
Personal injury lawyers know how to deal with manipulative insurance adjusters. You can secure maximum compensation with their knowledge of laws and negotiation skills.
Take your case to court
Not all personal injury cases reach a fair settlement. A lawyer can take your case to court if the insurance company is uncooperative and won’t pay reasonable compensation. They can build your case from a well-informed position, file all the necessary legal paperwork and prepare all supporting evidence for trial. An attorney will help you achieve the best possible outcome while recovering.
Seek medical help right after the accident, preferably within two days. Insurance companies may use any gap in treatment to deny or lower your claim.
Connect With an Accident Attorney for Negligence Accidents in Fort Myers
Have you or a loved one been a victim of negligence accidents in Fort Myers? Injuries resulting from the negligence of another party could leave you with excruciating pain and substantial medical bills.
You don’t have to bear the financial consequences of an accident that’s not your fault. A personal injury lawyer will guide you throughout the process, from sorting out a compelling negligence claim to dealing with insurance companies.
With the help of an experienced accident attorney, you can protect your rights and obtain the compensation you legally deserve.
Connect with an attorney through The Personal Injury Center today. You can use our free consultation to find competent lawyers or law firms to handle your case.
Learn more about your rights and options after the accident. Visit The Personal Injury Center for the best legal assistance.
FAQs on Negligence Accidents in Fort Myers
Under Section 95.11 of the Florida Statutes, you must file a personal injury lawsuit four years from the accident date. If you miss the four-year deadline, you may lose all your rights to seek damages for negligence accidents in Fort Myers. There are some exceptions to the rule, so ask your lawyer if they apply to your case.
Yes, you can sue the government for negligent actions that resulted in personal injuries, property damage, or wrongful deaths. But rules are different when suing the government and a private entity. Despite Florida's partial waiver of sovereign immunity, there's a limit on recovery and other specific requirements.
You can't be fully prepared for an accident. But equipping yourself with the following can help protect your rights and ensure the smoothest path possible to recovery.
- Obtain medical attention
- Notify law enforcement about the accident
- Document proof of the accident
- Limit your communication with an insurance company
- Get legal advice from an experienced attorney