The At-Fault Driver In An Accident Is Responsible For Much More Than A Victim’s Initial Injuries
Florida drivers know that getting into a vehicle and traveling on a Florida highway can sometimes be risky business. According to statistics released by the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles, there are over 200,000 traffic accidents in the Sunshine State each year. In 2009 alone, there were over 338,000 driver-involved crashes that led to over 2,500 fatalities and nearly 200,000 injuries. Injuries that are caused by car accidents are unpleasant and can often become very expensive. Luckily, most victims of car accidents are able to recover for their damages from either the at-fault driver or their insurance company. But there is a laundry list of potential damages that extend beyond injuries that were suffered at the scene of an accident, many of which can be recovered from the initial at-fault driver.
Negligence in Car Accidents
Generally, when an injured party sues for the damages related to the injuries that they suffered because of an auto accident, negligence is the proper cause of action. In short, the injured party is attempting to prove that the defendant breached a duty that was owed to them (typically the duty to drive in a reasonable and safe manner), that the victim suffered damages from the accident, and that the damages were actually and proximately caused by the unsafe behavior. Once it is established that the defendant had operated his or her vehicle in an unsafe manner, the focus typically shifts to the damages that were suffered and the foreseeability of those damages at the time of the accident.
Typically, those injured in an accident will only suffer the injuries that were caused by the accident itself. For instance, if a negligent driver strikes a pedestrian, he may sustain an injury such as a broken leg. The injury to the pedestrian’s leg is obviously a foreseeable result of the actions of the negligent operation of a vehicle. But what if while the pedestrian is being transported to a hospital, the ambulance is involved in an accident that breaks the pedestrian’s arm? What if after the subsequent ambulance accident, the pedestrian arrives at the hospital and develops an infection because of negligence on the part of an operating physician? Are these all injuries that the original negligent driver is responsible for? The short answer is: possibly.
Like we said before, an individual who is negligent is responsible for any injuries that were foreseeable at the time of the negligent behavior. It is important to understand that “foreseeable” does not mean “likely”. It simply asks the question: did the negligent driver set off a chain of events and consequences that a reasonable person could foresee occurring because of the original negligent behavior? Courts around the country have ruled that subsequent negligence is a foreseeable consequence of an original act of negligence. Therefore, it is likely foreseeable that negligence occurring while on the way to a hospital or while being treated there could occur because of a car accident caused by negligence. It is important to note that although negligence is typically foreseeable, the intentional bad acts of others are typically not. Thus, a doctor committing an assault on a patient is likely not a foreseeable consequence of a car accident.
Reach Out to Our Lawyers
As evidenced by the above information, every car accident that involves injuries requires a detailed investigation to establish all of the facts and circumstances is in your best interest to contact an experienced Florida personal injury lawyer at the Pendas Law Firm as soon as possible. Contact us online for a confidential consultation on your case in Fort Myers, Orlando, Tampa, West Palm Beach or the Jacksonville areas.