By Osborne & Francis
October 25, 2023

How to Prove Liability in a Personal Injury Lawsuit

Unless you have been through the personal injury claims process before, the prospect of filing a claim may seem like an insurmountable burden to take on while you are navigating recovery from a serious injury.  

One of the biggest hurdles in any personal injury claim is proving that the defendant should be held liable for the injured party’s damages. Liability refers to a person or entity’s legal responsibility for their actions, inaction, or the negligence of other parties for which they are responsible.

Establishing the defendant’s liability is a multi-step process that demands an experienced hand. The personal injury attorneys of Osborne & Francis have settled countless claims for Floridians who were injured by another party’s negligence, and we are prepared to maximize your compensation. 

We encourage you to schedule a free consultation by reaching out to us at (561) 678-0156 or contact our offices in Boca Raton or Orlando. Our team of tough negotiators is committed to holding negligent parties accountable and securing you the compensation you deserve.

Determining Liability Begins With Establishing a Duty of Care Was Owed 

A duty of care is a legal obligation to act with the reasonable caution that others in a similar situation would use. Establishing that the defendant owes the plaintiff a duty of care is the foundation of any personal injury claim. 

Without proving that the negligent party had a responsibility to treat the injured party a certain way, the claim falls apart, even if the defendant behaved recklessly.

One of the most common dynamics involving one party owing another party a duty of care is between road users. Each driver owes their fellow motorists, as well as bicyclists and pedestrians, a duty of care to operate their vehicles in a way that reduces the risk of causing a traffic accident. 

This includes refraining from aggressive driving, avoiding distractions, and properly maintaining the car. When a driver, or other potentially liable party, fails to fulfill their duty of care to the other party this is known as a breach of duty.

Demonstrating a Breach of Duty of Care

A breach of duty of care is characterized by a failure to properly exercise caution or

some form of actively reckless behavior that results in an injury to another party. For example, in a product liability lawsuit, a breach of duty of care could look like several things:

  • A critical design flaw that renders the product harmful to consumers
  • A manufacturing issue that contaminates the product or causes a damaging defect
  • A distribution error that damages the product, making it dangerous or ineffective
  • A failure to provide a warning label that accurately describes the risks of using the product

The representative for the plaintiff must provide evidence that the defendant acted negligently in violation of their duty to the plaintiff. This can take the form of expert witness testimony, accident reconstruction, security camera footage, eyewitness testimony, or other forms of evidence. 

Once the plaintiff’s attorneys have laid the foundation for liability, the work of proving causation and evaluating damages begins.

Factors in Establishing Liability in a Personal Injury Lawsuit

There are a couple of significant points to consider when attempting to prove liability in a Florida personal injury lawsuit. The first is that civil claims have a lower burden of proof as compared to criminal cases, as a defendant can only be held liable, not found guilty. 

That means that a judge or jury only needs to be convinced that the defendant is more likely than not responsible for causing the plaintiff’s injuries and damages through their negligent actions. 

Put another way, the fact-finders believe that the evidence skews 51% in favor of the plaintiff’s narrative. This lower threshold means that accident victims should not be intimidated out of considering taking legal action when a negligent party has wronged them. A personal injury attorney is still recommended to ensure that no stone is left unturned when establishing liability.

Another factor to consider is that under Florida law, more than one party can share liability. In most cases, Florida’s modified comparative negligence statutes allow plaintiffs to seek damages from another party even if they were partially at fault, as long as their contribution of fault does not exceed 50%. 

The plaintiff would then only be able to recover compensation equivalent to the percentage of fault that the defendant contributed. Under this law, plaintiffs also have a more limited time frame to bring a claim.

What Happens Once Liability Has Been Established

After the liable party or parties have been identified, the plaintiff must prove to fact-finders that their injuries were caused by the defendant’s failure to fulfill their duty of care. 

For example, let’s say that a store manager failed to clean up a large spill in their store, resulting in a customer breaking their arm in a slip-and-fall accident. There is a clear connection between the manager’s failure to remove a safety hazard and the plaintiff’s injuries.

After it is confirmed that the plaintiff’s injuries were directly caused by the negligent act, the plaintiff must then demonstrate that the injury resulted in the damages being claimed. Referencing the slip-and-fall accident example, maybe the plaintiff can no longer practice pitching with their child because their arm is in a cast. 

A loss directly related to the injury, in this case a non-economic damage, could potentially be compensated. Finally, the representatives for the plaintiff will use evidence to determine the value of the damages and negotiate for the maximum compensation the defendant will offer.

Why Should I Choose Osborne & Francis to Represent Me?

The personal injury attorneys of Osborne & Francis are aggressive litigators who don’t shy away from a challenge. For nearly a decade, our team of negotiators has made it a point to put our clients’ needs first, which has earned us the loyalty and respect of our former clients. 

Our results-oriented approach to managing personal injury claims has yielded outstanding results, garnering our team numerous accolades and allowed us to expand our services. 

If you have been harmed as a result of someone else’s negligence, you need to be able to trust that your personal injury attorney will dedicate the effort and attention your case deserves. You can rely on the personal injury lawyers of Osborne & Francis to advocate for you every step of the way.

Contact Osborne & Francis Today for Legal Support in Settling Your Personal Injury Claim

Our team can be instrumental in demystifying the personal injury claims process so that you can feel confident in the decisions being made moving forward. We understand that your family’s future may be dependent upon the settlement you receive for your injuries, and we will work tirelessly to provide you with the resources and advice you need to maximize your compensation.

The trial attorneys of Osborne & Francis have had great success representing injured plaintiffs both at the negotiating table and in court with the goal of securing a fair settlement. At Osborne & Francis, we will unapologetically pursue compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages related to your injuries.

Our team is available to schedule a free consultation when you contact us at (561) 678-0156 or contact our offices in Boca Raton or Orlando. We look forward to the opportunity to support you as we navigate the personal injury claims process on your behalf and work to maximize your compensation while you prioritize your recovery.


5 star icon

Quick and fair resolution to a unique case. On advice of my own attorney, I engaged Joseph Osborne of Osborne & Francis of Boca Raton, FL. Mr. Osborne had considerable experience in cases such as mine and the results showed that. Mr. Osborne and his staff were very helpful, kept me up to date, and listened to my input. The settlement was very fair as far as I am concerned.

C. Smith

5 star icon

“I am so thankful for EVERYONE, the entire staff at Osborne & Francis Law, for mentoring me through the mediation process with my hip replacement failures. I didn't realize how MUCH pressure they relieved me of by helping me deal with the reality of this traumatic time in my life, as it was OVER so quickly with a positive result. My family is grateful to have their mom HAPPY & FOCUSED on the future, rather than worrying over what happened in the past! FAST FORWARD, we are LIVING LIFE to the fullest once again!”

J. Davis

5 star icon

“I couldn’t have asked for a better lawyer/ firm — everything was done professionally exactly how I wanted. Due to COVID my personal attorney Mr. Garcia was still able to make things work in a timely manner and he never made me feel like he wasn’t working. Overall I’m happy with how my case turned out and I would recommend him and this law firm to anyone. 100% satisfied.”

T. Andrews

5 star icon

“Attorneys Greg Francis and Ryan Fletcher at Osborne & Francis Law Firm represented me in my personal injury case.The defendant drew a line in the sand and was adamant on a settlement amount I was almost willing to accept. After the dust settled and the smoke cleared, we settled for 3 times that amount!!! When they say ‘Real Tough Lawyers,’ they mean it.”

E. Holland

5 star icon

Dennis and the other Osborne & Francis staff were amazing! Our case was HUGE and required tender loving care. Everyone on our case did their part by putting all the puzzle pieces together. We were given step by step updates and put at ease when our nerves got the best of us. For every inquiry we made we received a timely response...You are appreciated!

Erica F.

5 star icon

"Best personal injury attorney around, I could not be happier! I was seriously injured in a car accident and Osborne and Francis helped me through the entire process. I was blown away by how knowledgeable the staff and attorneys are at this incredible law firm. I would not hesitate to recommend this law firm to friends and family!"

Ready For Your Free Consultation?