The judge’s primary function in a Florida personal injury case is to make sure that the trial follows all of the applicable rules, both substantive and procedural. One of the most important tasks a judge performs is determining which evidence is admissible and may be considered by the jury. Indeed, in many cases, powerful evidence that could change the outcome of a case is not admitted for a variety of reasons.
Evidentiary issues are normally handled in pre-trial motions, before the jury is empaneled. This way, the jury is not at risk of hearing any of the contested evidence, should the judge determine that it is not admissible. These pre-trial motion hearings can be critical to a Florida personal injury case, since they often determine the path a case will take. For example, if a plaintiff is able to get a pre-trial ruling admitting favorable evidence, the defense may consider settling the case rather than taking the chance of proceeding to trial.
In a recent Florida appellate opinion, the court discussed which evidence should have been admitted in a car accident case.
The Facts of the Case
The plaintiffs were two motorcycle operators and a passenger who were riding along a Florida highway on the way back from a bar. The motorcyclist carrying the passenger did not have a fully valid license and was only able to legally operate a motorcycle without a passenger.
At around 11:00 p.m., the defendant pulled up next to the motorcycles. The evidence is conflicting, but the plaintiffs testified that the defendant revved his engine, and the three began to race. At some point during the race, the plaintiffs claimed that the defendant rammed into one of the motorcycles, causing it to crash into the other motorcycle. All three plaintiffs on board the motorcycles were injured.
The defendant’s version of the events was different. He claimed that one of the motorcyclists lost control and crashed into the other motorcycle. At trial, the defendant wanted to elicit the fact that the motorcyclists had been drinking beforehand, and the motorcyclist carrying the passenger was not legally permitted to do so. The trial court denied the defendant’s request, and the defendant appealed.
The court agreed with the defendant that they should have been permitted to present the evidence to the jury. The court explained that the fact that the motorcyclists were drinking beforehand was relevant to the jury’s determination of who was at fault and which story to believe. Similarly, the court concluded that a back-seat passenger can affect the control of a motorcycle, especially for a rider who was not accustomed or trained to carry a passenger.
Have You Been Injured in a South Florida Motorcycle Accident?
If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a South Florida motorcycle accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. Depending on the circumstances of the accident and the extent of your injuries, you may receive compensation for your past and future medical expenses, lost wages, and any pain and suffering you endured as a result of the accident. The skilled South Florida personal injury lawyers at the law firm of Friedman, Rodman & Frank are well versed in Florida accident law and have successfully handled thousands of Florida personal injury cases. Call 877-448-8585 to schedule a free consultation with an attorney today.
More Blog Posts:
Court Limits Truck Owner’s Liability, Finding that He Loaned Truck to At-Fault Driver, South Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, published July 6, 2017.
Who Is Responsible in Florida When Someone Causes an Accident Using a Borrowed or Stolen Car?, South Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, published August 10, 2017.