Florida Negligence Laws

Created by FindLaw's team of legal writers and editors.

The definition of negligence is failing to exercise the degree of reasonable care expected of someone in order to minimize the risk of harm to another person. It serves as the legal basis for many personal injury cases, including car accidents, slip and falls, and medical malpractice. For example, a customer may sue a store for negligence if he or she is electrocuted by a freezer that the store knew was malfunctioning and injuring people. In that case, the store had a duty to maintain a reasonably safe frozen food aisle for customers and workers.

Statute of Limitations

There are time limits for filing lawsuits based on negligence, which are called statutes of limitations. These statutes of limitations generally vary depending on the type of negligence alleged in a particular case, but typically it's 4 years in Florida.

Florida Negligence Laws at a Glance

The chart below provides a summary related to Florida's negligence laws, including links to important code sections.

Statutes

Florida Statutes Title XLV. Torts:

  • Section 768.041 (release or covenant not to sue)
  • Section 768.0415 (liability for injury to parent)
  • Section 768.042 (damages)
  • Section 768.0425 (damages in actions against contractors sustained from negligence)
  • Section 768.81 (comparative negligence)
  • Section 768.31 (contribution among tortfeasors)

 

Damages

Damages are compensation provided to a plaintiff (person filing a lawsuit) for harm or injury suffered as a result of another’s negligence. The amount of damages a plaintiff may recover depends on the circumstances of the case, including the following:

  • The negligence committed;
  • The injury suffered; and
  • The identity of the defendant.

Comparative Negligence

Florida is a comparative negligence state. This means that if a plaintiff is partially at fault for an accident in which they suffer harm, that person’s recovery of damages will be reduced. Any contributory fault chargeable to the plaintiff diminishes economic and non-economic damages proportionate to the amount of that person’s fault, but it doesn't completely prevent the plaintiff from recovering damages.

Contribution Among Tortfeasors

When more than one tortfeasor (person who acts negligently) is responsible for causing injury or damage to another, generally all are must pay damages even if a judgment has not been entered against every responsible party. A defendant has a right of contribution from other tortfeasors if he or she has paid more than his or her share of common liability.

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Florida Negligence Laws: Related Resources

Filing a Florida Negligence Claim? Talk to an Attorney First

Florida's tort and consumer injury laws are complex. Finding a local attorney who understands the Sunshine State's comparative negligence statutes can make all the difference. If you're dealing with a personal injury matter that merits compensation, you can get help and guidance from an experienced Florida injury attorney.

Next Steps: Search for a Local Attorney

Contact a qualified attorney.