A 29-year-old Florida woman is recovering from burns to her face she received during surgery to remove three cysts from her head. According to the Miami Herald, Kim Grice underwent surgery last week at the Crestview Surgery Center in North Florida, when a “flash fire” broke out and spread to her face. She was wearing an oxygen mask and the surgeon was using a cauterization tool to stop bleeding when the fire broke out. Our thoughts go out to Ms. Grice and hope that she has a successful recovery. Events such as this typically are not natural occurrences when one undergoes a surgical procedure. At this time, not many facts have been given that explain the cause of this bizarre Florida personal injury, but what is known is that Ms. Grice has suffered a serious personal injury.
Our Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorneys represent those who have been injured or harmed as a result of another’s negligence, or willful misconduct. There are many circumstances that may give rise to a negligence cause of action, including medical malpractice and errors, defective products and malfunctions. One of the first steps a personal injury will do on the behalf of their client is to investigate the facts to identify the person or entity that is responsible for a person’s injuries. As we have mentioned in our prior blogs, in order to prove negligence, a plaintiff victim must prove four elements to hold a defendant liable: duty, breach, causation, and damages.
During a Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyer investigation, there are two types of evidence which may be discovered and produced to the court in order to prove a defendant is liable for damages. Direct evidence may include, witness statements, damaged instruments, video recording and photographs. On the other hand, when direct evidence is lacking, circumstantial evidence permits a Trier of fact to draw an inference based upon the evidence produce. For example, a dent on a defendant’s vehicle could be used to prove that it was his or her vehicle that struck a plaintiff’s vehicle.
Under some circumstances, a plaintiff may rely upon the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur, this is a Latin phrase which means, “The thing speaks for itself”. In other words, due to the fact that a person has sustained harm, the fact finder may infer or presume that a defendant is liable without any proof of unreasonable misconduct. The leading case of this doctrine is Byrne v. Boadle, 159 Eng. Rep 299 (1863). In this case, the plaintiff Byrne was struck by a barrel falling from a window as he walked past the defendant Boadle’s flour shop. Despite there being a witness which testified that he saw the barrel fall from the window of Boadle’s flour shop, he could not explain the cause. The court held that a defendant could be held liable for negligence based upon the occurrence of what happened without proof of direct evidence of negligence. However, there are three elements of res ipsa loquitur which must be establish in order for a plaintiff to invoke:
1. The accident must be of the kind which normally does not occur in the absence of someone’s negligence.
2. The negligence can be attributable to the defendant; in other words, the defendant must have control over the source of harm.
3. Neither the plaintiff nor any third person contributed to or cause the plaintiff’s injuries.
If you or a loved one has been injured during a peculiar Fort Lauderdale personal injury situation, contact a personal injury attorney today to discuss your unique circumstances and to get advice on what your legal options are.
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