What is a Prima Facie Case of Negligence in Florida?

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What is a Prima Facie Case of Negligence in Florida?

by | Jun 4, 2024 | Personal Injury

Negligence is a fundamental concept in personal injury law. It forms the basis of many lawsuits and is crucial for victims seeking compensation for their injuries. In Florida, understanding what constitutes a prima facie case of negligence is essential for both plaintiffs and defendants. 

In this blog, we will explore what a prima facie case of negligence entails, the critical elements required to establish it, common scenarios where such cases arise, and the importance of consulting an experienced personal injury lawyer.

What is a Prima Facie Case of Negligence?

Negligence is when one fails to act appropriately or do what a reasonable person would do, leading to harm to someone else. The Latin phrase “prima facie” translates to “on the face of it” or “at first sight.” A prima facie case arises when the provided facts are deemed adequate to establish a fact or presumption unless disproven. 

What are the Elements of Prima Facie in a Personal Injury Case?

Duty of Care

A duty of care mandates that people follow a reasonable care standard when carrying out actions that could harm others. This responsibility changes based on the parties’ relationship and the case’s circumstances. For instance, drivers must ensure they drive safely and abide by traffic laws to fulfill their duty of care to other road users. In the same way, it is the responsibility of property owners to ensure that their premises are safe to avoid any harm to guests.

Breach of Duty

A breach of duty occurs when someone does not fulfill the expected level of care toward another individual. This can occur either by taking action or by not taking action. If a driver disregards a red light and causes a collision, they have failed to ensure the safety of other drivers and pedestrians. Likewise, if a shop owner fails to repair a damaged staircase and a customer gets hurt, the owner has violated their responsibility to provide proper care.


Causation requires demonstrating that the harm suffered by the plaintiff directly resulted from the defendant’s failure to meet their duty. Two forms of causation need to be proven: actual causation and proximate causation. Actual causation, also called “but-for” causation, indicates that the injury would not have happened if not for the defendant’s actions. On the contrary, proximate causation involves determining if the harm caused was a predictable outcome of the defendant’s actions.


The plaintiff needs to prove that they experienced real harm due to the defendant’s failure to fulfill their responsibilities. Damages may encompass physical injuries, emotional distress, financial losses, and other types of harm. Proving the defendant’s negligence is insufficient—the plaintiff must also show that this negligence caused measurable damage.

The Most Common Cases of Negligence Involving Prima Facie

Car Accident Liability

Motorists are required to operate their vehicles safely and abide by traffic regulations. Non-compliance with these regulations—such as speeding, driving while intoxicated, or disregarding traffic signals—can render them liable for any consequential injuries. For instance, if a driver is distracted by texting and proceeds through a red light, causing a collision with another vehicle in the intersection, they may be held responsible for the injuries sustained by the other driver. In this scenario, the texting driver failed to fulfill their obligation to remain attentive to the road and observe traffic signs.

Liability for Premises Accidents

Property owners must uphold a safe environment for visitors. If someone is injured on their premises due to hazardous conditions such as slippery floors, broken stairs, or inadequate security, the owner may be considered negligent and held liable. For example, if a customer slips and falls on a wet floor in a grocery store lacking a caution sign, the store owner needs to pay more attention to their duty to alert customers to the danger, thereby breaching their duty of care.

Product-Related Injury Liability

Manufacturers and sellers have a duty to ensure the safety of their products for consumers. If a defective product causes harm, the manufacturer or seller may be held responsible for compensating damages. This encompasses defects in design, manufacturing, or insufficient warnings and instructions. For instance, if a faulty electrical appliance sparks a fire that damages a home and injures occupants, the manufacturer could be deemed liable for neglecting to provide a safe product.

Talk to an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer

If you believe you have been harmed by someone else’s carelessness, it is important to seek advice from a skilled personal injury attorney. Our experienced lawyers at Pacin Levine, P.A. are dedicated to offering steadfast assistance and legal advocacy to individuals residing in Florida. Contact us at 1-800-24-7-CRASH (2727) to review your situation and consider your legal choices.

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