Court Affirms Jury’s Defense Verdict, Despite Defendant Admitting to Causing Accident

Earlier this month, an appellate court issued a written opinion in a personal injury case that presents an important issue that Florida car accident victims should consider when preparing their case. The case involved a car accident, which the defendant admitted to causing. However, the jury returned a verdict in favor of the defense, based on the plaintiff’s inability to establish that her damages were a result of the accident.

Rear-EndedThe Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was injured in a car accident when the defendant made a left turn in front of the plaintiff’s car, resulting in a collision. Approximately two years after the accident, the plaintiff filed a personal injury lawsuit against the defendant, seeking compensation for the injuries she sustained in the accident.

Prior to the accident, the plaintiff had been suffering from back and neck problems. At trial, the defendant admitted that the accident was her fault and even agreed that the accident resulted in “some injury” to the plaintiff; however, the defendant took issue with the nature and extent of the plaintiff’s claimed damages.

At trial, the plaintiff testified, but she could recall few details. Most of the evidence was presented through video depositions taken from various treating physicians. The physicians’ testimony varied, but none of the physicians was able to definitely state that the plaintiff’s injuries were a result of the accident. The closest one physician got was stating that the injuries were “consistent” with the type of car accident involving the plaintiff.

After the conclusion of the evidence, the judge instructed the jury that the defendant caused the accident and that the only issues the jurors were to determine were causation and damages. After deliberation, the jury returned a general verdict in the defendant’s favor, finding that the defendant was not liable for any of the plaintiff’s injuries. The plaintiff filed a motion for a new trial, and when that was denied, the plaintiff appealed.

On appeal, the case was affirmed. The court explained that, although the defendant admitted to causing the accident and that the accident resulted in “some injury,” the plaintiff still needed to establish causation as well as the extent of her damages. Since the defendant contested the “nature and extent” of the plaintiff’s damages, the court considered the issue to be contested. Thus, the jury was free to reject the plaintiff’s testimony and that of her witnesses, and find in favor of the defendant.

Have You Been Injured in a South Florida Car Accident?

If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a South Florida car accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. The dedicated Florida injury attorneys at the law firm of Friedman, Rodman & Frank have extensive experience representing Florida victims and their families in a wide range of injury cases. To learn more, and to speak with a dedicated Florida personal injury attorney about your case, call 877-448-8585 today.

More Blog Posts:

Court Discusses Official Government Immunity in Recent Wrongful Death Case, South Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, published February 19, 2017.

Additur and Remittur: A Judge’s Ability to Adjust a Jury’s Verdict in Florida, South Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, published March 5, 2018.

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