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Determining Fault: Who Do I Sue?

While it may not be difficult to determine if you have been injured or suffered damages, it is not always easy to figure out who caused them. In fact, it is not uncommon for the cause of your injuries and damages to come from more than one person. Complicating matters, many individuals and corporations carry insurance to protect them from injuries or damages that they might cause to third parties.

Finding out who is at fault for your injuries and damages is a must for purposes of determining liability and possible compensation for your losses. It is important that you understand that suing the wrong party can ultimately lead to you being unable to get what is owed to you. Let’s explore how you can determine who is at fault and which party you can file suit against to get justice for the harm that you have suffered.

What Is Legal Liability?

You may have heard the term legal liability used on television or in advertisements. Legal liability concerns who is or might be at fault under the law. We all owe each other a duty of care. What that means is that we all must conduct ourselves in a way that is reasonable and that does not harm others. When the duty is breached, we may be liable for the injuries and damages that we cause to others. Liability is another word for fault. We are at fault when our actions directly or even indirectly cause damage to others without legal justification. For example, in a fistfight, the person at fault is generally the person that throws the first punches. In slip and fall cases, that person is usually the owner or manager of the property where the fall occurred.

What Is Negligence?

In most civil cases, fault hinges on the idea of negligence, which is a quite common legal term. Basically, negligence is a failure to use reasonable care which results in damages to another. An example of negligence is when the driver of a vehicle doesn’t brake for a stop sign, resulting in an accident and physical injuries to another. In a slip and fall case, negligence occurs when the supermarket fails to clean up a spill and then a customer slips and falls, suffering an injury as a result. The individual or entity that is negligent is often the party who is at fault.

Determining Who to Sue

Figuring out who to sue is often simply a matter of determining who is at fault, but sometimes it goes a step further. When multiple people are at fault, you must look at a variety of factors before deciding who to file suit against. In these cases, it is not uncommon for one person to be more at fault than others. Additionally, you must look at which of the parties has the financial ability to compensate you for your losses. What many people do not know is that successfully suing an individual or corporation is only half of the battle; you still must collect the judgment.

Unfortunately, suing someone with little to no financial means may result in a worthless judgment that you are unable to collect on. It is important then that you carefully select someone that not only is at fault but also either has insurance or the money or other assets to pay for your damages. Typically, corporations or business entities are preferred over individuals when deciding who to file suit against, as they often carry insurance that will cover the costs of their negligent acts.

Contributory Negligence

Florida is what is known as a contributory negligence state. What that means is that even if your own actions contributed to the cause of your damages, you could still collect compensation from the other negligent party. In other words, in cases where both you and the other party are both at fault, you still may be able to file suit and obtain damages from them. The amount of damages that you may be entitled to depends on how much your actions contributed to the cause of your losses. Contributory negligence is often a hotly contested issue and is not easily determined.

The Watson Firm Can Help

Determining who is at fault and which party to sue is an important part of any legal action. Leaving these decisions up to trained, experienced attorneys is recommended. The lawyers at The Watson Firm have the expertise and discernment to make the best decision for your case when it comes to determining fault and who to sue.

If you have any questions about your case, reach out to The Watson Firm by calling (850) 403-4779 or by contacting us online to consult with experienced counsel today.