Florida Appellate Court Grants Mistrial to Injured Plaintiff

The Florida District Court of Appeal issued an opinion in Howard v. Palmer, granting a new trial to the plaintiff. Defense counsel repeatedly made improper statements during the trial implying the plaintiff’s actions were all centered around suing the defendant. Florida case law has established precedent against statements made during trial that can lead a jury to believe that the plaintiff is very litigious and seeking deep pockets. The defense attorney in this case flagrantly ignored the plaintiff’s motion, granted by the judge, to refrain from any references to the plaintiff speaking to an attorney immediately after the accident.

In Florida you have a right to contact an attorney at any time on any matter. The defense attorney in Howard, made other inappropriate remarks in the midst of the jury trial, using commentary buried in his questions that referred to photographs being taken for the purpose of a lawsuit and that Comcast was attached to the defendant company. Implying that the plaintiff is “litigious” is irrelevant to whether or not the defendant was negligent and can cause the jury to be biased against the injured party.

In personal injury cases, whether they are caused by car accidents or slip and fall conditions, an injured party must show that the other party was negligent and that their negligence was the cause of their injury. Proof of negligence is shown through eye witness testimony, photographs, and related documents that reveal the conditions of the scene where the injury occurred or the objects involved, like a car or spilled item. Photographs and witness statements taken closer to the time of the injury better reflect what happened. The burden of proof falls on the plaintiff to show that it was more likely than not that the defendant’s negligence caused the injury, so the injured party needs all evidence available to meet that burden. The Florida Court of Appeals has repeatedly found that statements inferring a tortious plaintiff are not relevant to prove negligence or defend against a negligence claim.

In addition to the proof of the injury, the injured party must also prove the monetary damages incurred as a result of the injury. The injured party is able to recover compensation for lost wages, medical expenses, property damage, mental distress, loss of consortium, and emotional distress. It is essential to keep track of expenses and provide documents to your retained counsel like wage statements, hospital bills, and repair receipts. Mental distress, loss of consortium, and emotional distress do not require a calculation. Proof of future lost earnings and medical bills are harder to estimate and may require expert testimony to show what those amounts may look like.

The South Florida personal injury attorneys at Friedman, Rodman & Frank have litigated several multi-million dollar personal injury claims resulting in large settlements or verdicts. We will work diligently to maximize compensation so that you or your loved one is able to pay for incurred medical costs. Our experienced advocacy provides a strong guide during a time of stress and physical recovery. If you have been injured in an accident, call one of our litigators at (877) 448-8585.


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