Why Work with Attorney Metcalf on Your Injury Claim
Personal injury lawyer Brett Metcalf can guide you through this process. An experienced attorney will investigate your claim, determine the liable party or parties, and aggressively pursue full and fair compensation for your injuries.
Brett Metcalf is an accomplished attorney. The results he obtains for his clients have brought him recognition from many well-respected legal organizations. He was named part of the Top 100 Trial Lawyers and Top 40 Under 40 by The National Trial Lawyers. He was named a 2018 SuperLawyers’ Rising Star.
What is Personal Injury?
Personal injury is the area of law through which people who are hurt due to another party’s actions can pursue compensation for their physical, psychological, and financial injuries. This also is known as tort law. A tort is a wrongful act, other than a breach of contract, which causes another harm and gives rise to civil liability.
Right to Remedy
The right to seek compensation can arise due to a variety of conduct by another party. Many personal injury claims are based on the other person or business’s ordinary or gross negligence.
However, the right to pursue damages from a particular party can arise due to strict liability, vicarious liability, breach of contract, or breach of an implied or explicit warranty. Florida statutes or common law, which is law derived from binding court opinions, may dictate your right to pursue a remedy in court.
To determine whether you have the right to demand compensation from someone after an accident, talk with an injury lawyer. An experienced attorney will listen to your story and ask certain questions to gauge the relationship between you and the other party, what happened, and who may be at fault.
Based on thorough knowledge of the law and an understanding of your circumstances, an attorney can advise you on whether to pursue personal injury compensation or not.
Concept of Duty
In most circumstances in which a personal injury claim arises, it is because a party that had a duty toward you violated that duty.
A duty is a standard of conduct a party must uphold. This duty, which the court will consider an objective standard, dictates conduct the party must, should, or should not perform given the specific situation.
A duty and violation of that duty are specific elements of negligence. To pursue compensation based on negligence requires establishing that another person, business, or municipality had a duty toward you. The other party violated that duty in some way, which in turn caused an incident and your injuries.
You may wonder why another party would have a duty toward you, but this is very common. Individuals and businesses often have the legal duty to behave as a reasonably prudent person would under the same or similar circumstances. This is known as the duty of ordinary care, and it simply requires individuals to act carefully to avoid harming others.
Recognition of Duties and Legal Responsibilities
Different parties may have different—greater and lesser—duties toward you.
A business selling you a product has various duties regarding the safety and efficacy of that product and how they advertise that product. A property owner has a duty toward you when you are a social guest or a business customer of their premises. A municipality that provides public transportation has a duty regarding the safety of the buses, trolleys, and trains it provides.
To discuss the duty the other party may have had toward you and whether you have the right to pursue a remedy for violation of that duty, talk with an accident attorney as soon as possible.
Absolute or Strict Liability
Pursuing compensation under a personal injury claim may not require establishing fault. Negligence requires proving the other party failed to behave reasonably. However, absolute liability means a person is responsible for your injuries even if they were no careless, reckless, or malicious. This also is referred to as strict liability.
Florida law provides for strict liability in several situations, including in dog bite cases and defective product accidents.
Express and Implied Warranties
Various contract rights and warranties may establish your right to be free from injury and to hold a certain party liable for injuries.
If a defective product caused you harm, your right to pursue compensation might be based on the violation of an implied or express warranty. This type of action is not part of tort law but instead is based on contract law, specifically the Florida Uniform Commercial Code.
A warranty is essentially a promise a business makes regarding a product. Statues establish certain implied warranties, such as the implied warranty of merchantability or the implied warranty of fitness for a particular purpose. Businesses can also make all types of express warranties to you regarding a product.
To pursue compensation based on the violation of an express or implied warranty, there must be privity between you and the other party. In other words, there must be a contractual relationship between you two. This often can be established through a documented sale of goods.
If you cannot establish contractual privity, you must rely on negligence or strict liability or fall into an exception to privity to seek compensation.
Our accident injury lawyers will investigate whether you had a contractual relationship with the other party and whether that party breached a provision of that contract, an implied warranty, or an express warranty.
After being injured by another party’s actions, whether your cause of action relies on negligence, absolute liability, or breach of warranty, you may pursue compensation through an insurance claim or lawsuit. However, the party you are suing—the defendant—may believe another party contributed to the incident and injuries and should also be held responsible.
Within personal injury law, a defendant may be allowed to sue other parties to hold them responsible for a portion of the damages that the defendant owes you.
Indemnity is different in that it allows the defendant to pursue the full amount of the damages from another party. For example, a business may be held responsible for an injury it is technically liable for under the law. However, that business may sue the individual specifically at fault for the injury.
Due to vicarious liability, one party may be liable for your injuries despite another party directly causing the accident and your injuries. This arises most often with the employer-employee relationship.
Businesses are responsible for their employees’ actions. This liability is also known as respondent superior, which means “let the master answer.”
When you are injured in an incident that was caused by an on-duty employee, your insurance claim or lawsuit will focus on the employer’s vicarious liability. Your personal injury lawyer will pursue compensation from the employer directly or through the business’s insurance policy.
It also is possible that a particular party is liable for your injuries based on a specific Florida law. The person or business can be held liable and required to compensate you for your injuries if you can establish they violated the law and caused you harm.
An accident lawyer can explain whether a certain party is liable for your injuries under the law and not necessarily due to negligence or other theory of liability.
Causation of Injury
Under any theory of liability, from negligence to absolute liability, you must be able to show that the other party caused your injuries. There are two parts to this process.
You must establish cause in fact. You must be able to prove that but for the other party’s actions, you would not have been injured. In other words, if not for A, then B would not have occurred.
You also must establish proximate cause, which is a much more nuanced issue. Proximate cause means the accident and your injuries were within the realm of foreseeable risks associated with the other party’s conduct. In any given situation, when a person behaves carelessly or reckless, certain risks arise.
Whether or not your injuries were within those known set of risks determines whether you can establish proximate cause. If your accident and injuries were an unforeseeable fluke, you may not be able to establish proximate cause or receive compensation.