Degrees of Burns
Walker Morgan LLC
ATTORNEYS AT LAW
Florida Burn Injury Law
In order to prove negligence in Florida, the plaintiff must prove that a duty existed on the part of the defendant, the defendant breached that duty, the defendant’s breach of duty caused injury to the plaintiff, and the plaintiff suffered damages as a result.
Pure Comparative Negligence
Pursuant to Florida Statute § 768.8 Florida follows a pure comparative negligence standard which allows a plaintiff to recover even if his level of negligence is greater than a defendant’s level of negligence, in order to apportion responsibility for damages in direct proportion to the amount of negligence of each of the parties. Therefore, comparative negligence permits a plaintiff to recover damages based on the percentage of the defendant’s fault. For example, if plaintiff suffered damages in the amount of $1,000,000 and court or jury finds the defendant to be 10% at fault (plaintiff 90% at fault), the plaintiff would be entitled to recover 10%, or $100,000 of their damages from the defendant.
Joint & Several Liability – No Longer
Florida was once a joint and several liability state which allowed a plaintiff to recover fully for their injuries from any of the defendant parties in a negligence case, regardless of that defendant’s percentage of fault. However, in 2006 the state abolished the joint and several liability standard by way of Florida Statute § 768.81 and now follows a law that states defendants are only responsible for their own percentage of liability, whether or not the plaintiff is able to recover the full amount of damages awarded.
Compensatory damages are meant to compensate the plaintiff for injuries suffered as a result of the negligence of a tortfeasor. The award is meant to restore the plaintiff – as much as possible – to the condition they were in prior to the injury occurring. Therefore, compensatory damages are awarded to cover medical expenses, property damage expenses, loss of earnings, pain and suffering, emotional distress, etc.
In Florida, punitive damages are only available where the plaintiff can prove by clear and convincing evidence that the defendant was personally guilty of intentional misconduct or gross negligence.
“Intentional misconduct” means that the defendant had knowledge of the wrongfulness of his conduct and the high probability that injury or damage to the plaintiff would result, and despite the knowledge, intentionally pursued the conduct.
“Gross negligence” means that the defendant’s conduct was so reckless in care that it constituted a reckless disregard or indifference to the rights, safety, or life of others.
Florida limits the monetary amount of punitive damages that may be awarded to be within three times the amount of compensatory damages awarded or $500,000 – whichever amount is higher.
The law firm of Walker Morgan is located at 135 E Main St., Lexington, SC 29072. All lawyers at Walker Morgan are licensed to practice law in the State of South Carolina. Should you wish to retain our firm for legal representation regarding a potential case in any other jurisdiction we are required to associate local counsel in that foreign jurisdiction and seek permission from a court of the foreign jurisdiction to temporarily engage in the practice of law therein for purposes of pursuing your potential claim only.
By offering the following information the lawyers at Walker Morgan are not offering legal advice or legal guidance. The lawyers at Walker Morgan are not licensed to practice law in Florida. Should you have a question/concern specific to Florida law, please contact an attorney licensed to practice law in the State of Florida.