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The Rescue Doctrine in Florida

rescueMany people in Florida and across the United States place their own safety and lives at risk to help others. If you have been injured while you were attempting to rescue someone, you may be entitled to compensation. At the Law Offices of Robert Dixon, our Miami injury lawyers can consider the details of your case and determine whether you have a claim.

In Florida, there is no legal duty to rescue someone in an emergency situation. However, if a person does undertake a rescue and is injured by a third party’s negligence, the rescuer may be able to take legal action against that third party.

Under Florida law, a person who creates a dangerous situation for another person will be held to have caused the hazard not only for the victim but also for the person attempting to rescue the victim. As a result, the creator of the dangerous situation would be liable for the victim’s injuries as well as the rescuer’s injuries. In order to recover compensation under the rescue doctrine, the plaintiff rescuer must establish the following elements:

  • The person causing the emergency was negligent;
  • As a result of the person’s negligence, the victim rescued was in imminent danger; and
  • The rescuer acted reasonably in proceeding with the rescue under the circumstances.

Negligence is defined as a failure to exercise reasonable care in one’s actions or omissions that causes an injury to someone else. In order to establish negligence, the plaintiff must show the following elements:  i) the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care; ii) the defendant breached the duty of care owed to the plaintiff; iii) the defendant’s breach was a direct cause of the plaintiff’s harm; and iv) actual damages resulted. The duty of care refers to an individual’s obligation to use the level of care and caution that a prudent person would use in the same or similar circumstances.

Consider the following example. A rescuer attempts to help a person who is being attacked and ends up being subjected to an assault in which they are injured. The initial attack may have been because of a lack of security, for which the property owner may be liable. The fact that the rescuer was attacked while attempting to rescue the initial victim is foreseeable, and thus both the rescuer and the person who was initially attacked would have a cause of action against the property owner.

Typically, a plaintiff in these cases can seek a variety of damages, including medical expenses, rehabilitation costs, pain and suffering, property damage, and more. The exact amount of compensation that a plaintiff will be able to recover will vary depending on the specific circumstances of the case.

If you have been hurt as a result of someone else’s negligence, it is vital to reach out to a skilled Miami injury attorney. At the Law Offices of Robert Dixon, we are committed to holding negligent parties responsible for the harm they cause. We will make every effort to get you the compensation you deserve, whether it is through a settlement or at trial. We proudly represent clients across South Florida. Do not hesitate to call us at 1-877-499-HURT (4878) or reach out to us online.

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