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What is Negligence?

Like all legal terms, negligence has a very specific definition in the courts. When a personal injury attorney seeks to prove that the defendant caused injury by being negligent, he or she is trying to prove one or more of the following negligent qualities apply to the defendant’s actions:

  • To fail to use reasonable care
  • To do something that a reasonable person would not do.
  • To fail to do something that a reasonable person would do.

Negligence must cause injury in a natural and continuous sequence in order to be a factor in an injury accident. However, negligence can be combined with other circumstances that contribute to an injury or accident.

Consider the following example: A driver of a car crashes into another car, causing that vehicle to collide with a utility pole, which knocks out the power to a city block. Somewhere in that blacked-out city block, a person eats a tuna sandwich which has not been properly refrigerated (due to the lack of power), and contracts a serious food borne illness. While it is reasonable to hold the driver of the first car at fault for causing injuries to the driver of the second car, is it reasonable to hold the driver of the car at fault for the food borne illness? In most courts, negligence concerns a foreseeable and unreasonable risk. Most reasonable people understand that driving a car carries the foreseeable risk of causing an auto accident. Linking a food borne illness with driving is much harder for a reasonable person to foresee.

Negligence concerns inadvertent actions. However, some deliberate acts that fail to address foreseeable and unreasonable risk are treated as negligent acts in a court of law.

In a court setting, negligence can also refer to a professional’s sub-standard care rendered to a client. Such negligence is generally divided into two classes. Ordinary negligence results from honest errors in judgment, often resulting from inexperience. By contrast gross negligence concerns the willful disregard for established professional standards.

Negligence is a complex term, whose meaning is constantly undergoing revision in the courts. As decisions are rendered on negligence cases, those decisions shape how future court case involving negligence will be tried.

If you believe that you or someone you care for has been injured due to the negligence of another, please contact the Florida Law Offices of James O. Cunningham, P.A.

DISCLAIMER: This site and any information contained herein are intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.

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Florida Personal Injury Office Locations

Main Office

Orlando Personal Injury Office:
3117 Edgewater Dr.
Orlando, FL 32804
Phone: 407-425-2000
Toll Free: 877-FL-INJURY
                 (877-354-6587)
Fax: 407-843-8274

Seminole County

Lake Mary Office:
1001 Heathrow Park Lane
Suite 4001
Lake Mary, FL 32746
Phone: 407-487-4408

Osceola County

Kissimmee Office:
17 S. Orlando Ave.
Kissimmee, FL 34741
Phone: 407-966-4408

Volusia County

Daytona Beach Office:
1301 Beville Rd., Suite 8
Daytona Beach, FL 32119
Phone: 386-243-4994

DeBary Office:
465 Summerhaven Drive, Suite C
DeBary, FL 32713
Phone: 386-320-3911

Deland Office:
Downtown Executive Center
120 South Woodland Blvd.
Deland, FL 32720
Phone: 386-206-1264

Citrus County

Inverness Office:
110 North Apopka Ave.
Inverness, FL 34453
Phone: 352-205-4341

Polk County

Lakeland Office:
1102 S. Florida Ave., Suite 104
Lakeland, FL 33803
Phone: 863-968-7551

Winter Haven Office:
325 Avenue A, N.W.
Winter Haven, FL 33881
Phone: 863-968-7173

Hillsborough County

Tampa Office:
100 S. Edison St. Suite D
Tampa, FL 33606
Phone: 813-355-9772

Marion-Sumter Counties

The Villages Office:
3420 U.S. Hwy. 27/441
Fruitland Park, FL 34731
Phone: 352-419-0825

Lake County

Mt. Dora Office:
602 East 5th Ave.
Mt. Dora, FL 32757
Phone: 352-436-4696

Clermont Office:
900 W. Highway 50
Clermont, FL 34711
Phone: 352-503-4674

Brevard County

Titusville Office:
506 S. Palm Ave.
Titusville, FL 32780
Phone: 321-222-7300

Cocoa Office:
96 Willard Street
Suite 206,
Cocoa, FL 32922
Phone: 321-757-1373