Carrollwood Car Accident Attorney
Unexpected cataclysms, like gale-force wind gusts and sudden lightning strikes, cause a few car wrecks. But driver error causes over 90 percent of the vehicle collisions in Florida. Legally speaking, this error is usually negligence, or a lack of care. That’s especially true if the tortfeasor (negligent driver) was a commercial operator. We are all responsible for the accidents we cause. In the car crash context, this responsibility includes paying compensation for damages.
Compensation is available in these matters. But, insurance companies do not simply give it away. In fact, insurance companies have gangs of lawyers whose only job is to reduce or deny this compensation. To level the playing field, these victims need a tough Carrollwood car accident attorney from Moore Law. We use solid evidence to build an effective case. Then, we stand up for your legal and financial rights, in the courtroom and around the negotiating table.
First Party Liability
We mentioned negligence above. Let’s examine this critical concept in depth. Basically, negligence is a four-step inquiry:
- Duty: Most noncommercial operators have a duty of reasonable care. They must drive defensively and obey the rules of the road. Most commercial operators, such as bus drivers and Uber drivers, have a duty of utmost care. They must take affirmative steps to avoid vehicle collisions.
- Breach: Common breaches (violations) of a legal duty include driving while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, distracted driving, and drowsy driving. Operational errors, like speeding and making an illegal turn, could be breaches of duty as well. A jury or other factfinder must determine if, based on the evidence, a breach occurred.
- Cause: Actual cause is also called “but for” causation, as in the crash wouldn’t have happened “but for” the tortfeasor’s breach of duty. Legal causation is foreseeability (possibility). If Mike hits Ike, breaking his leg, that injury is foreseeable. If Ike’s doctor makes a medical mistake, that injury is not foreseeable.
- Damages: Victims must suffer actual physical injury or property damage to be eligible for compensation. Near misses usually do not support negligence claims. Furthermore, Florida is a no-fault insurance state. To obtain maximum compensation, the victim must have a serious injury, as defined by state law.
This compensation usually includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering. Additional punitive damages might be available as well, in some extreme cases.
Third Party Liability
Negligent drivers are legally and morally responsible for car crashes. Frequently, a third party is financially responsible for these incidents. Common vicarious liability theories include:
- Respondeat Superior: Employers are responsible for crash damages if the tortfeasor was an employee who was working in the scope of employment at the time of the wreck. State law defines all these key terms in broad and victim-friendly ways.
- Dram Shop: This theory often applies in alcohol-related wrecks. Commercial alcohol providers are vicariously liable for damages if they illegally sell alcohol to a patron who subsequently causes a wreck. Noncommercial providers could be vicariously liable as well, in some cases.
- Negligent Entrustment: Vehicle owners are vicariously liable for damages if they knowingly allow incompetent operators to use their cars, and these operators cause car wrecks. Evidence of incompetence includes no drivers’ license, a safety-suspended license, and a poor driving record. Commercial negligent entrustment claims, like U-Haul truck crashes, work differently, because of the Graves Amendment.
Vicarious liability is especially important in catastrophic injury claims. Frequently, individual tortfeasors don’t have enough insurance coverage to fully compensate victims or survivors.
Count on a Dedicated Hillsborough County Lawyer
Injury victims are usually entitled to significant compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced car accident lawyer in Carrollwood, contact Moore Law by going online or calling 813-510-5400. You have a limited amount of time to act.