Car accident victims may incur thousands in expenses and decide to file a lawsuit against the driver who caused the accident. It’s necessary to prove the driver was negligent to win a case. Negligence means that their actions or inactions caused the accident because they didn’t show due care and attention to ensure safety while driving. 

Negligence claims involve these components:

  • Duty Of Care
  • Breach Of Duty
  • Causation
  • Damages

Let’s explore these components and how they relate to your accident case.

Duty of Care

Every driver has a responsibility to operate in a way that ensures the safety of everyone using the road including other drivers, passengers, bicyclists, and pedestrians. They must use a reasonable standard of care and not act in a way likely to cause harm. 

Examples of things drivers should not do:

  • Drink and Drive
  • Speed
  • Drive Recklessly
  • Run Red Lights

Drivers may be negligent if they don’t do something they should do to ensure safety. Examples of things drivers should do:

  • Obey Traffic Signs
  • Obey Traffic Laws
  • Use Turn Signals
  • Slow Down In Bad Weather
  • Turn Headlights On At Night

Florida law requires drivers to remain at the accident scene. Staying at the location allows you to give law enforcement an account of the accident, which can help them to establish whether the other driver failed to exercise a duty of care.

Breach of Duty

Drivers’ actions are compared to the steps a “reasonable person” would take in the same situation. In personal injury cases, it’s crucial to prove that the at-fault driver disobeyed traffic laws or failed to act the way a reasonable person would have. Proving one or both of these things establishes that the driver could not exercise a reasonable standard of care. 

A breach of duty occurs when drivers fail to exercise a reasonable standard of care. Proving a breach of duty helps build a case against the at-fault driver for negligence.


To successfully pursue a car accident claim against another driver, it’s necessary to prove that the driver’s breach of duty caused your injuries or property damage. Two types of causation can establish that the driver’s breach of duty caused your accident.


The driver’s breach of duty was directly responsible for the accident. Hitting a car with the right of way after running a red light is an example of cause-in-fact.

Proximate Cause

The driver’s breach of duty indirectly caused the accident. Suppose a drunk driver loses control of their vehicle, runs off the road, and hits a utility pole. The pole falls and hits another vehicle on the road, causing property damage and injuries. This is an example of a proximate cause.


Damages are the expenses and losses stemming from auto accidents. Damages fall under one of two categories.

Economic Damages

Economic damages are verifiable expenses stemming from your accident. Examples include:

  • Medical Expenses
  • Repair Bills
  • Replacement Costs
  • Loss Of Income
  • Job Retraining Costs
  • Relocation Or Accessibility Upgrades For Permanent Injuries

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages encompass the accident’s toll on your life in non-economic ways. Examples include:

Acknowledging and assessing non-economic damages is crucial when determining how much compensation to seek. Almost 40% of car accident victims in the United States develop PTSD because of their accidents. PTSD can cause permanent symptoms affecting your quality of life by causing emotional detachment, insomnia, flashbacks, and anxiety.

Related: How to Sue After a Car Accident in Tampa

Examples of Negligence

Below are some examples of negligence establishing the defendant’s breach of duty of care.

Failing to Obey Traffic Laws

Examples include: 

  • Running Red Lights 
  • Speeding

Failing to Maintain Alertness

Examples include: 

  • Distracted Driving
  • Driving Sleep-deprived

Failing to Maintain Control of Vehicle

Examples include: 

  • Swerving Into Oncoming Traffic
  • Abrupt Lane Changes

Failing to Maintain the Vehicle

Examples include: 

  • Driving With Malfunctioning Brakes
  • Not Replacing Broken Headlights

Failing To Use Equipment Properly

Examples include: 

  • Not Signaling A Turn
  • Not Turning On Headlights

Shared Fault

Shared or comparative fault is when both parties share responsibility for the accident. In these cases, insurance companies assign a percentage of blame to each party. The percentage determines how much a driver pays or receives in damages. 


No matter who’s responsible for the accident, your insurance company will issue no-fault payouts to cover the costs of medical care. Accident victims in no-fault states can only file a lawsuit if the accident caused permanent injuries, scarring, or someone’s death.

Related: What to Do If You’ve Been Rear-Ended in a Car Accident in Tampa, FL

How a Tampa Car Accident Lawyer Can Help

Car accident lawyers help accident victims pursue fair compensation. Call the Tampa car accident lawyers at Jack Bernstein Injury Attorneys for a free consultation. Jack Bernstein has represented car accident victims for over 36 years, and he’ll provide an expert opinion about your case. He uses his knowledge and experience to help every accident victim he represents as they navigate the legal process and seek compensation. 

Call 813-333-6666 today to speak with Jack about your case.


Driver Medical Fitness for Duty. (2022).

The 2022 Florida Statutes. (2022).

Tull, Matthew. (2019). The Risk of PTSD After a Car Accident.

Tampa Car Accident + Personal Injury Lawyers

Jack Bernstein Personal Injury Attorney

For more than 40 years, personal injury lawyer Jack G. Bernstein has protected the rights of individuals who have been injured in a variety of circumstances. Throughout his career, Bernstein has been a strategist thoroughly dedicated to the idea of protecting the rights of his clients. Mr. Bernstein is a member of the Florida State Bar Association, the Hillsborough Bar Association and the Clearwater Bar Association.

Mr. Bernstein has the experience and expertise to handle a wide range of injury cases. Among the types of plaintiffs Mr. Bernstein represents are individuals involved in car accidents caused by drunk drivers or other exhibiting negligence, medical complications resulting from carelessness caused by a physician or a medical facility, including brain injury, bicycle, motorcycle, moped and truck accidents, admiralty law and cruise ship accidents, accidental drownings, all types of wrongful death lawsuits, along with most injury, catastrophic occurrences and legal malpractice issues.

Our firm handles every type of personal injury and accident case, using negotiation and litigation tactics effectively. We handle cases throughout Tampa, Sarasota, St. Petersburg, and Clearwater, FL. With a staff of approximately 40 people, including six lawyers and 34 support personnel, we have the legal resources to get the justice you deserve and the maximum recovery for your losses. Schedule your free consultation today; we are always here to help.

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