One of the benefits of hiring a Florida personal injury attorney to file a lawsuit on your behalf is the comfort you can enjoy in knowing that your attorney will fight for compensation which is fair for you. Attempting to recover compensation for your injuries when you or a family member has been injured or harmed due to another’s negligence can be very difficult. Also, if you are awarded monetary compensation in your case, but later became aware of additional damages, you may not be able to sue the person or company responsible for your injuries in a second lawsuit. This is because Florida courts recognize the legal principle known as “res judicata”.
Res judicata is a Latin phrase which essentially means that the matter has already been settled and a defendant in a Florida personal injury or medical malpractice lawsuit is entitled to this defense. Basically, under this legal doctrine, you cannot sue a person or a business when the claim could have been argued in the first claim, for additional compensation or when your second claim is against the same defendant for the same injury. However, if you believe that facts in your case are different from those in a prior case in which you already have sued a defendant and are attempting to sue a second time, you should speak with an attorney that specializes in personal injury litigation.
Res judicata is common law preclusion, similar to collateral estoppel. It is very common for these two concepts to be used interchangeably. However, collateral estoppel is issue preclusion, meaning that it prevents the re-litigation of an identical issue. In short, since res judicata is tied to the events of a case courts usually will evaluate the events in order to determine if res judicata is applicable. If the circumstances of a case involve the same issues against the same parties that were actually litigated in a court of competent jurisdiction, then it is likely that the defendant would invoke the defense of collateral estoppel and possibly win the lawsuit.
There are a substantial number of rules and legal doctrines that are applicable to the various personal injury lawsuits. Which is why it is a necessity to consult with one of our Fort Lauderdale accident attorneys to obtain the advice you will need prior to filing a Florida lawsuit by yourself or agreeing to a settlement offer. These kinds of challenges are common in this form of litigation and could result in you losing your lawsuit.
If you have been recently hurt due to someone’s negligence, or you have a family member that was injured or killed as a result of another’s wrongdoing, contact our office shortly to discuss your case with one of our Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyers. It is possible that you may have a valid legal claim to sue the person responsible for causing your injuries. Since each case is different with different factual circumstances, it is important that you obtain the proper legal advice you need.
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