Court Dismisses Appeal Based on Plaintiff’s Failure to Object at Trial, Illustrating Importance of Properly Preserving Issues in Florida Personal Injury Cases

Recently, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a personal injury case illustrating the importance of taking all steps to properly preserve any issues a party believes a judge decided wrongly in a Florida personal injury case. In this case, the court ultimately dismissed the plaintiff’s appeal because she failed to make a timely objection.

The Facts of the Case

According to the court’s opinion, the plaintiff was rear-ended by the defendant and subsequently filed a personal injury lawsuit against the defendant. Before trial, the plaintiff filed several proposed jury instructions, including an instruction on the doctrine of negligence per se. The case proceeded to trial, and before sending the jury back to deliberate, the judge held a charging conference where the judge discussed how he would instruct the jury and hear arguments from counsel about proposed charges.

Evidently, the charging conference was not memorialized. At the conclusion of the conference, the judge determined the instructions would not include the plaintiff’s proposed instruction on negligence per se. The judge asked the parties if they had anything to add, to which the plaintiff’s attorney responded: “I have no issues with the charge, Your Honor.” The jury was instructed accordingly, and then returned a verdict in favor of the defendant.

The plaintiff filed a post-trial motion, arguing that the court erred by not including the instruction on negligence per se. The defendant claimed that the issue was waived because the plaintiff failed to object at the time the court determined that the charge on negligence per se would not be included. The plaintiff asserted that by filing the instructions before trial and then filing a post-trial motion, the issue was properly preserved. The trial court denied the plaintiff’s motion, who then appealed.

On appeal, the court affirmed the trial court’s dismissal of the plaintiff’s claim. The court explained that the plaintiff waived the issue by failing to make a “contemporaneous objection” to the court’s charge at the time it was given. The court explained that the burden to establish that the claim of error was preserved rested with the plaintiff, who was unable to show that any objection was made. The court acknowledged that an objection might have been made in the charging conference, but that could not be confirmed because the conference was not memorialized.

Have You Been Injured in a Florida Car Accident?

If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a Florida car accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation for the injuries you have sustained. Depending on the nature of the accident and the severity of your injuries, you may be able to recover damages for your medical expenses and lost wages, as well as for any pain and suffering you endured as a result of the accident. To learn more, contact the dedicated South Florida personal injury lawyers at the law firm of Friedman Rodman & Frank at 877-448-8585 today.

More Blog Posts:

Court Declines to Impose Duty on Landowner to Trim Trees Near Intersection, South Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, published November 29, 2018.

Maintenance Company May Be Liable for Restaurant Employee’s Injuries Following Slip-and-Fall Accident, South Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, published December 13, 2018.

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