What Is Negligence?

In the State of Florida, negligence is broken into 4 parts, or elements: (1) Duty; (2) Breach; (3) Causation; and (4) Damages. If all of these are present in a case, then you have a negligence case.

“Duty” is an affirmative requirement to engage in a certain kind of behavior. Simply put, duty is a responsibility to do something. The State of Florida requires us all to behave in a certain way. Driving safely is a duty.

“Breach” is when you fail to perform your duty. In legalese, we say, “you breached your duty.” When you breach a duty it just means that you were supposed to do something, but didn’t do it. Looking down at your cell phone while driving is a breach of the duty to drive safely.

“Damages” is all of the negative effects a person receives because of the breach of a duty. Most commonly, damages comes in the form of financial compensation. Damages is represented by 2 categories, economic and non-economic damages. Medical expenses is an example of damages.

“Causation” is the link between the breached duty and the damages. The breach of the duty has to cause the damages for there to be a negligence case. If you look down at your cell phone while driving, you have breached a duty. If that breach results in you hitting another car, the impact of that collision can cause injury. If the impact causes injury and that injury has damages, there is a negligence case.

If you think you have a negligence case please reach out to Waggener Law at 727-685-8000.