Articles Posted in Car Accident

Recently, a state appellate court issued a written opinion dismissing a plaintiff’s complaint against the defendant, based on the fact that the plaintiff concealed prior injuries that he had suffered. The case is important for Florida car accident victims because it illustrates the importance of being truthful in all statements to the court.

Doc Holding X-RayThe Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was involved in an accident that he alleged was caused by the defendant. After the accident, the plaintiff claimed that he suffered injuries to his head, lower back, and shoulder. The plaintiff filed a personal injury lawsuit against the defendant, seeking compensation for his injuries.

The case proceeded to the discovery phase, at which the parties were to exchange relevant requested information. As a part of discovery, the plaintiff was asked about his prior medical conditions in a set of written questions. In these questions, the plaintiff indicated that he had no prior back, neck, or shoulder injuries. However, when the defendant asked the plaintiff to sign a release to obtain his medical records, the plaintiff refused.

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Earlier this month, a state appellate court issued an interesting opinion in a case discussing an important issue that often arises in Florida personal injury cases. The case presented the court with the opportunity to discuss the concept of proximate cause, and in which situations a defendant’s negligent actions may be too distant from a plaintiff’s injuries to constitute legal causation.

ScooterThe Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was the daughter of a man who was killed in a traffic accident as he was crossing the street at a crosswalk on an electric scooter. Six years prior to the fatal accident, the plaintiff’s father was involved in another accident when he was the passenger in a vehicle. That accident occurred when a tire in the vehicle blew out, causing the vehicle to crash into a nearby telephone pole. As a result of the 2005 accident, the man’s mobility was severely limited, and he required an electric scooter to get around.

Prior to the 2011 accident, the man filed a lawsuit against the tire manufacturer. That lawsuit resulted in a defense verdict. However, prior to 2011, the verdict was overturned. The plaintiff’s father, however, never re-filed the case, although he could have done so.

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Under Florida law, all motorists are required to maintain a base level of insurance coverage in order to legally operate a motor vehicle. The purpose of this requirement is to ensure that, in the event a motorist causes a Florida car accident resulting in serious injuries or death, the motorist has sufficient assets to cover the costs incurred by the accident victim.

Car CrashInsurance companies, however, are for-profit businesses, and like other businesses, they rely on making a profit to stay in business. This means that insurance companies must take in more money each month in monthly premiums than they pay out in settled claims. As a result, insurance adjusters are trained to settle claims for as little a sum of money as possible. In some cases, insurance adjusters have taken advantage of less-than-savvy accident victims who may not know what their claim is worth. A recent case illustrates one court’s unwillingness to enforce a settlement agreement that it determined was unfair.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was a passenger in a friend’s car when she was involved in a car accident. Police cited both the plaintiff’s friend as well as the other driver. After the accident, the plaintiff complained of pain in her neck and side.

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Earlier this month, an appellate court issued an opinion in a personal injury case involving the aggressive acts of a third party, discussing how such acts can play into a landowner’s liability to its visitors. The case is important for Florida car accident victims to understand because it discusses the concept of foreseeability, which comes into play in many personal injury cases.

Food TruckThe Facts of the Case

The defendant owned a parking lot that he had designed and leased to a food truck. The food truck was open each day, and it was most crowded on the weekends. On a weekend evening, the plaintiff hoped to visit the food truck. As the plaintiff pulled into the lot, however, he realized that it was very crowded and that he would have a difficult time finding a place to park, so he decided to back out and find another place to park.

As the plaintiff was backing out of the lot, he bumped into another vehicle that was pulling into the lot. The driver of that car got very angry, despite the plaintiff’s apology and offer to exchange insurance and vehicle information. The other driver then got into his own car, put it in reverse, and quickly backed out of the lot. However, in so doing, the other driver ran over the plaintiff, who was standing behind the car. The plaintiff was seriously injured as a result and filed a personal injury lawsuit against the owner of the parking lot.

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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.

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When a jury renders a verdict in a Florida car accident case, the jury’s decision regarding the defendant’s liability to the plaintiff is generally insulated from review, absent extraordinary circumstances. However, once the jury returns a verdict in favor of the plaintiff, the award amount that the jury reaches can be subject to a judge’s review under certain circumstances.

Gavel and BookUnder Florida Statute section 768.74, a party can request a judge to review the jury’s award amount and ask that it be increased or decreased. If the judge agrees with the requesting party, the judge will order an additur (an increase) or a remittur (a decrease) in the award amount. Then, the party that requested the additur or remittur has the choice of accepting the revised award amount, or, if they believe the result to still be unsatisfactory, a new trial on the issue of damages will be ordered.

When a party asks a judge to order an additur or remittur, the judge will consider certain factors, which are outlined in section 768.74. Essentially, the judge will determine if the award was a product of “prejudice, passion, or corruption,” whether the jury considered evidence it should not have, and whether the award amount was supported by the evidence. A recent case illustrates a situation in which the judge agreed with a plaintiff that a jury’s award amount was insufficient.

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Earlier this month, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a personal injury case that presents a valuable lesson to Florida car accident victims. The case involves an accident victim’s conflicting testimony and how courts resolve such conflicts. Ultimately, the court determined that it would be improper to credit either of the plaintiff’s statements, and it sent the case to a jury for resolution.

Rear-EndedThe Facts of the Case

In 2015, the plaintiff was injured when her vehicle was struck by another driver. The plaintiff filed a personal injury lawsuit against that driver but later found out that he did not carry auto insurance. Thus, the plaintiff added the name of her father’s insurance company to the case, claiming that she was covered under the policy’s uninsured motorist protection.

After the plaintiff filed the claim, the insurance company sent the plaintiff a list of questions. When answering the questions, the plaintiff stated that she lived with her three children. She also stated that her father lived across the street.

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Earlier this month, an appellate court in Georgia issued a written opinion in a personal injury case involving allegations that an insurance company acted in bad faith when it failed to settle a case that later resulted in a substantial jury verdict. Ultimately, the court concluded that there was sufficient evidence to survive the insurance company’s motion for summary judgment, and the case was ordered to proceed toward trial.

Rollover AccidentThe case is interesting and relevant to Florida accident victims because it illustrates the difficulties that Florida personal injury plaintiffs may encounter when dealing with insurance companies after an accident.

The Facts of the Case

A motorist caused a five-car collision, in which he was killed and several others were seriously injured. This case involves just two of the victims, J.A. and J.H. The attorney for J.A. and J.H. contacted the at-fault motorist’s insurance company, inquiring about settling the case. The attorney expressed the interest of his clients to settle the case for the policy limit maximum but requested that additional information be passed. The letter asked for a response within 30 days.

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Earlier this month, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a case alleging that the state department of transportation was negligent in allowing an orange construction barrel to obstruct a lane of traffic. The case discusses an issue that will be relevant to many Florida accident victims, specifically, when a government entity can be held liable for the dangerous condition of a public roadway.

Construction ConeState and local governments are responsible to build and maintain public roads. While governments can rarely be held liable based on the dangerous design of a road or intersection, government entities can be held liable when they fail to safely maintain public roads. A recent case illustrates the standard courts apply when reviewing these claims.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was towing a trailer on the highway when she entered a construction zone, where orange construction barrels were placed alongside the single lane of travel that remained open. As the plaintiff continued down the highway, one of the barrels was directly in the lane of travel, and she was unable to avoid clipping the barrel with the awning of her trailer. As a result, the plaintiff’s trailer was damaged, and she could not use it for the remainder of the season.

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In the initial aftermath of a Florida car accident, everyone’s adrenaline is pumping, and people are not often thinking about the consequences of what they say. Over time, memories tend to fade, and biases may creep into a witness’ thought process. Thus, there is an argument to be made that statements made in the immediate aftermath of an accident are the most reliable. In fact, it is not uncommon for a witness’ testimony at trial to differ from the statement they provided to police in the moments after an accident.

CrosswalkNormally, hearsay evidence is prohibited during a trial. Hearsay evidence is an out-of-court statement that is being offered to prove what the statement says. For example, a witness’ statement to police describing how an accident occurred is generally considered inadmissible hearsay. The proper way to get this testimony in would be to call the witness to testify at trial. But what happens when a witness’ testimony changes from the time of the accident to trial?

The Florida Rules of Evidence address this very issue in Rule 90.614. Under Rule 90.614, a party is entitled to cross-examine a witness regarding any prior inconsistent statements they made. Rule 90.614 acts as an exception to the general prohibition on hearsay. Thus, if a witness takes the stand and testifies to something different from what they told police in an accident report, that witness can be questioned about the inconsistency. A recent car accident case illustrates this concept.

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