What is the Legal Side of Liability?
What is the legal side of liability?
When a victim sustains injuries as a result of someone else’s actions, the person at-fault is the “liable” party. A lawyer with Board Certification should be the first person a victim consults with, on the legal side, when it becomes clear that their injuries were potentially the fault of another.
How does the Statute of Limitations pertain to liability?
When a person sustain injuries due to another person’s unreasonable behavior, there may be grounds for litigation. The only person with qualifications to determine this is a lawyer with Board Certification. Experience in the area of Personal Injury liability is necessary to see these cases through to trial if necessary. Thus, this is why when a person sustains injury in an accident, their priority after recovering, medically, should be seeking adequate legal advice.
As we discuss in What is the Florida Statute of Limitations?, the Statute of Limitations may begin as soon as the accident occurs, unless there are specific circumstances that allow delay. In the article we bring to light the Discovery of Harm rule.
“[…]The Discovery of Harm rule can be applied successfully in the instance of a medical malpractice claim made due to the actions of a surgeon who left a surgical tool or other medical equipment (gauze, syringe, etc.) inside the patient’s body after performing a surgical procedure. If this was not discovered until months or years later when the victim began to experience unfamiliar pain, swelling and/or sustained a life-threatening infection due to the surgeon’s negligence in leaving a foreign object in the body.”
What are the different types of liability?
There are several types of liability! “Liability” is the umbrella term for harm resulting in another’s irresponsible actions. However, depending on another’s actions, liability differs. The four types of liability we’ll cover in this article are as follows:
- Premises liability
- Social host liability
- Trucking carrier liability
- Hit-and-run liability
1. Premises liability
From a slip and fall accident at one of Florida’s busy shopping malls to unsafe sidewalks. The one thing these accidents have in common is that the property owner can become liable for any injuries patrons sustain while visiting with reasonable cause.
For example, a shopper at a mall may sustain injuries in a slip and fall accident, because a ‘Wet Floor’ sign is not visible to the public. In this instance, the mall becomes liable for the injuries. Injuries that occur due to slip and falls are herniated disk or knee injuries. These injuries frequently require surgery, thus reducing the victim’s quality of life and incurring lost wages.
Are homeowners liable for their own property?
Homeowners can certainly be liable for injuries that occur on their property. Drowning accidents, negligent security, and underage drinking to name a few. Liability really depends heavily upon the law in the state the accident occurs. When an accident does not occur on public property, different laws apply. The laws that apply to injuries guests sustain while visiting a home are different than those that apply to patrons of a mall or restaurant.
2. Social Host Liability
A few states abide by laws that hold a person hosting a party in which alcohol is available liable. If minors are able to obtain alcohol, this puts the homeowner in a serious legal position. In these cases, the homeowner becomes liable for injuries or fatalities that occur as a result. Furthermore, they also make themselves responsible for any injuries or fatalities a minor under the influence causes while, or directly after drinking.
Specific social host laws
Most specific social host laws are in place to reduce the rate of drunk driving accidents, injuries, and deaths. These laws apply to both minors and those of-age to drink. Presently, there are even some states that extend liability to social hosts who serve alcohol to those of legal age.
The state of Florida is specific in it’s practice of holding any vendor (bar, restaurant, club) that serves alcohol to a minor responsible (“liable”) but has not as of 2020 extended this law to private citizens who choose to serve alcohol to minors under their own roof, or at private gathering they host.
3. Trucking carrier liability
In previous articles, we discuss various laws surrounding trucking liability at length. However, it’s important to summarize the liability specific to trucking carriers as it pertains to Personal Injury:
“A great deal of truck driving is federally regulated, and drivers must consistently abide by a specific set of rules and standards laid out for them before they can perform their duties. These rules are put in place by the FMCSA (“Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration”).”
This specific set of rules ranges from the number of licenses permissible to a truck operator. (One license in the driver’s home state only). Physical and medical requirements also govern a high standard of health and safety. (Ten-hour breaks between shifts are legal requirements to avoid trucking accidents resulting from fatigue). Lastly, special training outside of standard driving knowledge, specific to trucking.
4. Hit-and-run liability
The legal consequences of hit and run accidents are more nuanced and much more serious than standard traffic accident laws. A lawyer with experience in pedestrian accidents should handle these type of cases. This is especially true if a wrongful death occurs as a result. The biggest civil consequence in Personal Injury cases when it comes to hit and run accidents, is obtaining “punitive damages”.
Punitive damages are available to the victim in cases where the party at-fault is so reckless that undue harm to another is the result. If a driver acts in a manner that’s irresponsible, such as fleeing the scene of an accident before the exchange of contact information, they may be liable.
The ability to obtain punitive damages on behalf of a client who sustains injuries in a hit and run is twofold:
- In proportion with the at-fault party’s lack of moral conduct.
- By how much it would take financially to punish the at-fault party for their lack of morality. This calculation is usually the most important in a civil hit and run trial. If the at-fault party shows little to no remorse or lacks appropriate morals, the judge may impose the highest amount of damages under the law.
Why do Personal Injury lawyers need to pursue cases of liability?
Cases of liability require rigorous litigation by lawyers who have the experience to do so. There are multiple ways clients sustain injuries for which they are not at-fault. Pain and suffering is prevalent across the country. In states where drivers lack car insurance, such as Florida, hit and run accident rates increase. Medical malpractice, negligent security, drowning accidents, and car accidents are all circumstances in which harm to the victim cannot be foreseen.
Accidents resulting in serious injury are a hazard of living in a society where the behavior of others is reckless or negligent. When a person lacks morals, is not credible, or acts recklessly, they’re putting themselves in a position to become liable for any actions that cause harm to another.
A law firm with experience
Experience, ethics, and empathy are all found in lawyers who pursue Board Certification. This Certification is above and beyond a passing bar exam score. Lawyers who achieve Board Certification are the ones who place clients over cash and see cases all the way to trial, whenever necessary.