Florida Personal Injury Cases Involving Multiple Potential Legal Standards

In March 2019, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a personal injury case involving a golf cart accident that occurred on the defendant’s property. The case required the court to determine whether the plaintiff’s claim against the defendant was more appropriately characterized as a premises liability case or a motor vehicle accident.

The case is important for Florida personal injury victims because it illustrates that there are often multiple theories of liability a plaintiff may be able to pursue against a defendant. In addition, the case shows that the outcome of a plaintiff’s claim may depend on the theory of liability they choose to pursue.

According to the facts section of the appellate court’s opinion, the plaintiff was injured in a golf cart accident. At the time of the crash, the defendant was driving the golf cart, and the accident occurred on the defendant’s land. The plaintiff sustained serious injuries as a result of the accident, and filed a personal injury case against the defendant. Specifically, the plaintiff claimed that the defendant negligently operated the golf cart, resulting in her injuries.

In a pretrial motion for summary judgment, the defendant argued that the plaintiff’s case should be dismissed. Specifically, the defendant argued that the plaintiff could not recover for her injuries because she was a licensee on the defendant’s property and, because of her status as a licensee, the defendant’s duty to the plaintiff was limited to refraining from willfully or intentionally injuring her.

The plaintiff’s position was that the fact that the defendant was also the owner of the land where the accident occurred was irrelevant to the question regarding his potential negligence in driving the golf cart. However, the trial court granted the defendant’s motion for summary judgment, dismissing the plaintiff’s case. The plaintiff appealed.

On appeal, the court reversed the lower court’s decision, holding that the plaintiff’s case should proceed to a jury trial. The court noted that the plaintiff’s claim was based on the defendant’s control of the golf cart, and nowhere in the complaint did the plaintiff raise a premises liability claim. The court explained that the mere fact that the defendant’s alleged negligence happened to occur on property that he owned does not mean that the plaintiff’s claim is controlled by premises liability law.

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 based on the injuries you have sustained. At the personal injury law firm of Friedman Rodman & Frank, we represent injury victims and their loved ones pursue claims for compensation against those who are responsible for their injuries. We represent clients across Florida, including in Miami, Naples, Homestead, and Miami Beach. To learn more about how we can help you with your current situation, call 877-448-8585 to schedule a free consultation. Calling is free, and we will not bill you for our services unless we can help you obtain the compensation you deserve.

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