Failure to Raise an Issue at Trial May Prevent Appellate Review in Florida Personal Injury Cases

As is often the case in many of life’s endeavors, preparation is crucial to the outcome of a Florida personal injury case. While this is true across the board – from the moment the case is filed to when the jury returns a verdict – preparation is especially important when it comes to understanding the other side’s case and anticipating which issues may arise. Such preparation gives a Florida personal injury plaintiff an advantage that cannot be overstated.

Rollover AccidentA recent case illustrates how an insurance company’s lack of preparation resulted in the company waiving an issue that would otherwise likely have been resolved in its favor. As a result of the company’s failure to raise the issue, the plaintiff was successful in getting an adverse lower court ruling reversed in her favor.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was injured when she was involved in a car accident that was caused by another motorist. The at-fault motorist did not have adequate insurance coverage to fully compensate the plaintiff for her injuries. However, the plaintiff was covered by two other insurance policies, both of which contained underinsured motorist protection. The plaintiff’s mother had a policy with Allstate that provided $25,000 in underinsured motorist coverage. Additionally, the plaintiff’s father’s policy with Geico provided $20,000 in underinsured motorist protection.

After the accident, the plaintiff filed a claim with Allstate only. Allstate’s position was that it should only have been responsible for the $5,000 that its policy covered in excess of the Geico policy. The trial court agreed and reduced Allstate’s liability to $5,000. The plaintiff filed a motion to reconsider with the trial court.

During the motion to reconsider, Allstate made the same argument that it did before, but it also presented the court with a new argument. Specifically, it argued that the Allstate policy contained a clause requiring the plaintiff to exhaust all other insurance before making a claim with Allstate. Allstate asked the court to affirm its previous ruling based on the newly raised argument. The court did so, and the plaintiff appealed.

On appeal, the case was reversed in favor of the plaintiff. The court held that Allstate was prevented from making the newly raised argument on appeal because it was not raised below. Additionally, the court concluded that the lower court was incorrect in reducing Allstate’s liability to the $5,000 excess over the Geico policy. As a result, the plaintiff will be entitled to recover up to the Allstate policy maximum.

Have You Been Injured in a Florida Car Accident?

If you or a loved one has recently been injured in any kind of Florida car accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. However, it is almost certain that you will need to deal with an insurance company in the process of seeking recovery. At Friedman, Rodman & Frank, we have decades of experience dealing with difficult insurance companies, and we know what it takes to convince a hesitant insurance company to pay out on our clients’ claims. Call 877-448-8585 to schedule a free consultation with an attorney to discuss your case today.

More Blog Posts:

Florida’s Recreational Use Statute, South Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, published October 27, 2017.

Nursing Home Claims Privilege in Face of Plaintiff’s Discovery Request, South Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, published October 5, 2017.

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