$64.5 million verdict in Florida personal injury suit

Tampa readers may have read about the $64.5 million verdict in a recent local lawsuit involving a serious construction accident. Filed by a construction worker who was nearly killed when a prefabricated building fell on him at a construction site in 2009, the lawsuit named three companies, including the construction company the man worked for at the time of the accident, a fertilizer company that owned the site and another construction company that was hired to work on the site. A jury decided that the landowner bore most of the blame for the man’s injuries.

The case illustrates the complexity of personal injury lawsuits under Florida law.

The worker’s compensation system generally handles an employer’s liability in a workplace accident, but most personal injury lawsuits in Florida are based on the legal theory of negligence. Whether the injury was the result of a car accident, a slip-and-fall accident, a defective product or some other circumstances, the party who caused the injuries through his or her own negligence may be held liable for the damages. In addition to negligence, there are several other important theories that support liability. One of the most common of these is premises liability.

Premises liability is the legal theory that can hold land owners responsible for accidents that occur on their property. Land owners have a duty to address hazardous conditions on their property so that visitors are not injured in preventable accidents. This theory can apply to something as simple as a slippery floor in a grocery store or to something as potentially deadly as an unsafe construction site.

The injured often face enormous medical costs, lost wages, pain and suffering and other damages that can permanently change their lives. It’s important for the injured and their families to be compensated for these damages when they are the result of another party’s negligence, but many people don’t know where to begin. Florida attorneys with experience in personal injury law can help the injured and their families to understand how the law may apply to the unique circumstances of their case.

Source: Tampa Bay Times, “Jury’s verdict is $64.5 million in construction accident at Mosaic Co. site,” Anna M. Phillips, March 30, 2015

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