What Kinds of Affirmative Defenses Are Viable in a Florida Personal Injury Case?Tampa Bay Legal News
Following the explanation of what exactly an affirmative defense is and how they apply to Florida personal injury cases, it is equally important to be familiar with the types of affirmative defenses that could possibly be used.
An affirmative defense to a criminal charge or a civil suit is a fact or group of facts that differ from those asserted by the prosecutor or plaintiff which, if successfully proven by the defendant, mitigates or entirely defeats the legal repercussions of the defendant’s otherwise illegal actions.
Rule 1.110(d) of the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure provides a long, but by no means exhaustive, list of viable affirmative defenses. In a majority of Florida personal injury cases where an affirmative defense is exercised, one of the following four will most likely be used.
Florida follows the laws of comparative negligence. This means that a jury has the power to decrease a plaintiff’s award for damages by the percentage of fault deemed to be theirs.
For instance, if the plaintiff is found to be 30% liable for an accident and the defendant is found accountable for the other 70%, then the plaintiff’s compensation will be cut by 30%. Even though this defense will not completely mitigate the defendant’s liability, it will substantially reduce the amount of money they are required to pay.
Statute of Limitations
Every civil and criminal case in the state of Florida has a statute of limitations applied to it This is a law enacted by legislators that establishes the maximum amount of time within which legal proceedings can be initiated after the event.
A prospective plaintiff must file their claim before this predetermined time passes. Should the plaintiff let the deadline pass, the defendant can use this as their affirmative defense and the judge will very likely dismiss the case.
Most people are familiar with the concept of double jeopardy and how it applies to criminal law but the concept doesn’t really have a place in civil matters. The legal doctrine of res judicata, however, is somewhat similar, stating that a claim already adjudicated by a qualified court can not be pursued further by those involved. Depending on the circumstances of the case, the defendant could assert res judicata as a valid affirmative defense.
Assumption of Risk
If the plaintiff intentionally engages in an activity that carries the chance of injury, they can not claim full damages in the event that they are actually injured. For example, if you go see a baseball game and pick a seat down in front right next to the diamond, it’s feasible that a foul ball could come your way.
By deciding to go to the game and to sit close to the action, it could be concluded that the plaintiff assumed the risk of getting hit with a foul ball. If so, they could, realistically, see their financial compensation decreased or quashed altogether due to their apparent assumption of risk.
As with every kind of personal injury case, the endless number of variables makes your claim unique. Someone with a case that sounds very similar to yours could end up with a very different outcome than what you should expect. This is just one of the many reasons why hiring a skilled attorney is beneficial to your Florida personal injury claim.
Your attorney will know the most thorough and efficient way of collecting vital evidence that proves you were not at fault for the accident. Establishing this fact is essential to the success of your Tampa personal injury case.
If you have sustained injuries during any kind of accident that was caused by another person’s negligence or carelessness, there is evidence out there that will substantiate your claim. A reputable personal injury attorney from Fulgencio Law will be able to help you. Call us at (813) 463-0123 to schedule your free Tampa personal injury consultation today.