Personal injuries are a leading cause of accidental death in Collier County. Nationally, more than 30 million people are treated in hospital emergency departments every year for injuries that are both unintentional and serious.
As long-time Naples personal injury lawyers, Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner, Attorneys for the Injured, is a fierce advocate for those who have sustained harm due to someone else’s act or omission of carelessness or criminal misconduct. The kind of Naples injury cases in which we have prevailed run the gamut, and include:
- Auto accidents
- Slip-and-fall accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Work injuries
- Motorcycle accidents
- Dog bites
- Tourist injuries
- Bus and trolley accident injuries
- Defective products injuries
- Nursing home negligence injuries
- Swimming pool accidents
- Truck accidents
- Construction accidents
- Golf cart accidents
- Boating accidents
- Sexual assault
- Bicycle accidents
Every case we take on varies as it pertains to the individual facts, but there is one thing all have in common: They are the direct result of someone who owed a duty to use reasonable care and somehow failed in that responsibility, or otherwise failed a legal obligation to protect the public.Naples Negligence, Duties of Care, No-Fault
As noted in Florida Civil Jury Instruction 401.4, negligence is the failure to act the way a reasonably careful person would under like circumstances. Although it’s generally accepted that the mere fact of an accident isn’t an inference of negligence, as noted in the 1961 ruling in Belden v. Lynch by the Fla. 2d DCA, this particular instruction isn’t given to jurors because it’s considered “argumentative and negative.”
This is the standard used for almost all Naples injury lawsuits, with some exceptions.
Some cases shift a higher burden of proof on plaintiffs. For example, some Naples nursing home negligence cases sometimes involve medical negligence, which is a standard of care determined by how other professionals of like qualification and position would act. This is a higher proof burden than general negligence.
In other cases, the greater proof burden is on defendant. For example, the law holds that common carriers (those responsible to transport passengers) are expected to use not just the care of a reasonable person but of a very careful person, as outlined in Florida Civil Jury Instruction 401.6. In premises liability cases, which are those that involve the duty of care owed by a business or property owner to those lawfully on site, the degree of care defendant is expected to use is dictated by the role of the person who is on site. For example, someone invited onto the site as a member of the public for the financial gain of the property owner is owed the highest duty of care. Alternatively, someone who is trespassing is owed the lowest degree of care (with child trespassers being the exception under the attractive nuisance doctrine).
There is also a standard called “strict liability” that can be used in cases like dog bites and defective products. As noted in F.S. 768.81(1)(d), a product liability action can be based on the theory that a product is unreasonably dangerous as designed, manufactured or sold. Similarly, dog bite injuries don’t require you to prove the dog owner was negligent, but rather per F.S. 767.04, the dog owner is negligent so long as the attack occurred while you were lawfully on site and you weren’t taunting the animal. It doesn’t matter if the owner had prior knowledge that the dog was vicious.
Finally, there is a standard known as “no fault.” This is used primarily in two types of Naples injury claims for compensation: Car accidents and workers’ compensation. Let’s start with car accidents. F.S. 627.7407 explains application of the Florida Motor Vehicle No-Fault Law, which essentially is this: All vehicle owners (except motorcyclists) are expected to maintain auto insurance for personal injury protection (PIP) in addition to bodily injury liability and property damage coverage. If you’re in a Naples crash, you must first access PIP from your own auto insurer (or that of the driver, if you’re a passenger, pedestrian or motorcyclist) before you can pursue any claim against an at-fault driver. That only covers up to $10,000, but you don’t have to prove someone else was to blame and you weren’t. It’s only if your injuries are serious or disabling that you can step outside that no-fault system, in which case you will need to prove the defendant was negligent. Similarly, workers’ compensation claims in Naples are the exclusive means by which employees can be paid wage loss and medical expense for on-the-job injuries – and they don’t need to prove their employer was at-fault or that the employee was not. The trade-off is workers’ compensation is limited with what damages it provides and workers can’t sue their employers for things like pain and suffering. That’s part of the “grand bargain” of workers’ compensation.
A common defense in negligence cases is to allege comparative fault. This means you are in some way to blame for what happened. The good news is that Florida’s comparative fault statute will not prevent you from collecting damages, even if you do share some of the blame. In fact, you could be 99 percent responsible for what happened and still collect damages on the other 1 percent. However, your share of the blame will proportionately reduce your damages (amount you are paid). This is something our Naples personal injury lawyers will fight to help you avoid or minimize.
If you’ve suffered a personal injury in Naples, let us help you examine your case and determine the best course of legal action.
If you or someone you care about has been hurt, contact the Naples injury lawyers at Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner, Attorneys for the Injured. You pay us no fees unless we win.