Not All Evidence is Admissible in a South Florida Car Accident Case

In Frost v. McNeilus, two defendants admitted to liability for a Florida motor vehicle collision that resulted in injuries to a plaintiff. Although the parties came to an agreement regarding the amount of past medical bills the plaintiff was entitled to receive, they disagreed about her future medical expenses as well as her pain and suffering. Prior to trial, the defendants filed a motion in limine with the Middle District of Florida. In general, such a motion is used to ask a judge to exclude certain evidence at trial.

In their motion, the defendants argued the plaintiff should not be allowed to introduce evidence they felt was irrelevant and offered solely to “curry favor with the jury.” The defendants stated that information related to the plaintiff’s Christian missionary upbringing and education as well as her son’s military service would be unfairly prejudicial to them. The plaintiff countered that information regarding her background would help jurors more accurately apportion damages, particularly with regard to the types of activities she claimed she could no longer enjoy as a result of the crash. The plaintiff also claimed that her religious beliefs were relevant because she believes divorce is not an option even though she felt the accident put unnecessary strain on her marriage.

The Middle District of Florida held that information regarding the plaintiff’s upbringing was relevant, but it stated the defendants could object at trial if the evidence provided became unfairly prejudicial or irrelevant. In addition, the federal court said the plaintiff may introduce evidence related to her belief that divorce is unacceptable, but it stated other information about her religious beliefs was irrelevant and should be excluded at trial.

After that, the court refused to exclude the testimony of a proposed medical expert as duplicative because the doctor was not yet deposed. The Middle District of Florida stated the issue may be raised again at trial if appropriate. The federal court also denied the defendants’ request to exclude certain medical testimony related to the plaintiff’s future medical expenses because the physician qualified his statements regarding her prospective medical needs. According to the court, such qualifications go to the weight such testimony should be given rather than its admissibility.

Next, the court excluded evidence that a chiropractor revised his initial report because the defendants failed to explain to the court why simply correcting a factual inaccuracy was relevant. The court also said admitting such evidence could result in unfair prejudice to the plaintiff. Similarly, the federal court excluded all testimony regarding the opinions of unnamed neurologists that the defendants’ medical expert apparently consulted with because it would be unfair to allow the information into evidence without providing the plaintiff with an opportunity to cross-examine the unnamed medical professionals. Despite this, the court stated the medical expert’s own opinion was both relevant and admissible.

As a result, the court granted the defendants’ motion in limine in part and denied it in part without prejudice.

Successfully navigating the legal system on your own can be tough. If you were hurt in a South Florida car accident, you need a knowledgeable personal injury attorney on your side to help you protect your rights. To discuss your case with a caring Miami personal injury lawyer today, please call the experienced attorneys at Friedman, Rodman & Frank, P.A. at (305) 448-8585 or contact us through our website.

Additional Resources:

Frost v. McNeilus, Dist. Court, MD Florida 2015

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