4 Types of Affirmative Defenses in Florida

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affirmative defenses in Florida

If you get injured in an accident, whether it is a slip-and-fall accident, a car accident, or an accident caused by a product you buy at the store, then you very likely have a claim against the party at fault.  However, there is one thing you need to remember about any type of litigation, particularly a personal injury lawsuit – it is not that different from any other type of argument.  

Put another way, a lawsuit is just a formal way to blame someone for hurting you.  Now, in an informal, casual setting, if you blame someone for something, that person will typically not just say “I’m sorry” and accept full financial responsibility.  Of course, that could happen once in a while.  Yet, what is more, common is that the person you blame will defend himself in some way, whether by denying any responsibility or saying that the incident was actually your fault.  

In short, you have an argument on your hands.  And regardless of whether it is the homeroom aid in the playground or a judge in court, you need to persuade that neutral third party that the facts show that you are right, and the other side is wrong.  

Accordingly, in this article, we are going to talk about what you might expect from a defendant if you sue them for a personal injury.  Specifically, we are going to talk about the four most common affirmative defenses that you will see in a Florida personal injury case.

If, after reading this blog, you have additional questions about your own situation, then we welcome you to contact an auto accidents lawyer in Stuart, FL, at our firm, Crary Buchanan.  At Crary Buchanan, we are proud of our standard of excellence, which has allowed us to thrive as one of the oldest law firms on Florida’s Treasure Coast.  

Find an auto accidents lawyer in Stuart who is passionate about giving you the highest quality representation.  Call us today at 772-287-2600, or schedule a free estate planning to consult online with our online contact form

What is an Affirmative Defense?

Typically, when you sue someone, they will defend themselves by either saying that you have no case – i.e., that they were not negligent – or they may go on offense and assert what is called affirmative defenses.  An affirmative defense is not simply an assertion that you cannot prove your case.  Rather, it is a defense, which often needs support with proof from the defendant that might place liability on your shoulders.  In other words, it is a fact or set of facts – other than those that you, the plaintiff, allege – which might defeat or lessen the defendant’s responsibility.  

The 4 Common Affirmative Defenses in Florida

Many personal injury cases in Florida involve the four following affirmative defenses:

1. Contributory negligence.  Florida law is a “comparative negligence” state.  That means that if you were 30 percent at fault for an accident and the defendant was 70 percent at fault, then your compensation for your injuries will be reduced by 30 percent.

2. Assumption of risk.  Your compensation from a personal injury might be reduced or eliminated if the defendant can show that you knowingly did something that had a risk of injury.  For example, if you go to a hockey game, your ticket will likely have an “assumption of risk” provision that states that you are assuming the risk that, by attending the game, you might get hit with a hockey puck.

3. Statute of limitations.  A personal injury victim only has so many years to file a claim in court.  In Florida, many personal injury cases have a four-year limit.  Thus, if you fail to file a lawsuit within the appropriate amount of time, you will lose your chance to pursue a case at all due to the statute of limitations.

4. Res judicata.  There is a provision in the law that states that you cannot sue someone twice for the same negligence claim.  Thus, a defendant may assert that you cannot pursue the case a second time under the doctrine of “res judicata.” 

Find an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney Today – Call Crary Buchanan

Vehicle accidents are one of the leading causes of personal injury and wrongful death in the nation.  Many factors can contribute to a traffic accident, but as noted the primary reason is negligence.  Drivers are negligent in a variety of ways.  A driver who falls asleep may be considered negligent.  When a careless driver causes an accident, you can pursue a personal injury claim or lawsuit.

It doesn’t matter what type of injury you sustained.  You have the right to seek compensation if another driver caused you injury – even if you were partially responsible for the accident.   Automobile and truck accident injuries can lead to a variety of expenses, and a personal injury claim can compensate you for these costs.  Yet, you need the right legal advocate on your side to get full and fair compensation for your damages.  If you or someone you love suffered an injury, speak with a Stuart, Martin County personal injury attorney from Crary Buchanan.  We want to help you recover the money you need.

At Crary Buchanan, we are committed to providing clients with exceptional service in every aspect of personal injury law.  You can depend upon our 85 years of experience in the Florida legal industry. 

Our legal team is passionate about maintaining the high standards of professionalism and legal service that were established and practiced by founding attorneys Evans Crary Sr. and Evans Crary Jr.  Evans Crary Sr. began his law practice in Stuart in 1927 at a time when Martin County was only two years old.  He became a municipal judge at the age of 25 and served as County Attorney for 23 years. 

During his time as County Attorney, he was elected to represent Martin County in the Florida Legislature.  In 1945 he was elected to the Florida House of Representatives.  He served in the House for nine years and even served as Speaker of the House before he went on to become a member of the Florida Senate.  Today, the Crary Buchanan law firm continues to practice the example of integrity, professionalism, energy, and devotion that was clearly illustrated in the lives of both Evans Crary Sr. and Evans Crary Jr.

Our clients are more than case numbers; they are people. We recognize that you are an individual with unique needs and expectations.  Our team is here to meet your need and exceed your expectations.  When you work with us, you can have confidence that a caring legal advocate is on your side.

If you have more questions or want a dedicated auto accidents lawyer in Stuart to help you, call 772-287-2600 or schedule a free consult online with our online contact form.  You can always depend on Crary Buchanan for community, experience, and trust.  Call today.