Author Archive for SimpsonLaw

Comparative Negligence in Florida Injury Cases

Florida personal injury law operates under a comparative negligence system, in which negligence may be apportioned among various parties. In a lawsuit stemming from a rear end car accident, for example, a jury may find that the driver suing is 30 percent liable for the crash and that the driver being sued is 70 percent liable. In that scenario, the driver who sued would generally be entitled to an award of 70 percent of his or her damages.


In Hartong v. Bernhart, Florida’s Fifth District Court of Appeal explains that a plaintiff should be able to amend his or her pleadings to conform to the evidence presented at trial and ensure that the jury is instructed on the comparative negligence standard.


Hartong sued Bernhart individually and on behalf of her deceased daughter, Ms. Wilkinson, alleging negligence and wrongful death. She alleged specifically that Wilkinson died of MRSA lobular necrotizing pneumonia, which Bernhart failed to identify and treat. In response, Benrhart argued that Wilkinson was comparatively negligent because she had alcohol and hydrocodone in her system at the time, which combined with the pneumonia to cause her death by limiting her ability to breathe.

Florida Target May Be Liable for Slip and Fall

Florida law generally provides that a store owner is required to maintain the physical premises in a reasonably safe condition and to warn visitors of any hazards of which the owner is or should be aware. When an owner fails to meet this standard, it’s likely to be legally liable for any injuries that result. In Garcia v. Target, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida provides some insight in to how courts consider whether the owner knew or should have known about a specific dangerous condition on the property.


wet-reflecting-stone-floor-1149237-m.jpgMs. Garcia was injured when she slipped and fell on her way out of a Target store in Davie. She and her son had visited the store to get their eyes examined and spent several hours at the Target before the accident. Although she didn’t notice anything before she fell, Garcia said she found that the floor was wet when she hit the ground. She said she saw drops of water covering about three tiles. Mr. Garcia also observed the wet floor after the accident and said there were a number of wet footprints in the vicinity. A Target employee later wiped down the floor and set up a caution sign.