Earlier this month, an appellate court issued an opinion in a Florida car accident case requiring the court to determine if a jury was within its right to refuse to award future medical expenses to the plaintiff when the defendant failed to provide contradicting expert testimony. Ultimately, since the plaintiff’s expert’s testimony was “far-from-conclusive,” the court determined that the jury was free to make the decision it did.
The Facts of the Case
The plaintiff was injured in a Florida car accident that was caused by another driver. The at-fault driver either did not have insurance or had insufficient insurance to cover the plaintiff’s injuries, so the plaintiff filed an underinsured/uninsured motorist claim with her own insurance company. The extent of the plaintiff’s injuries were not conclusively established, but it was determined by her neurosurgeon that she suffered from degenerative disc disease.
The insurance company did not contest that the other driver caused the accident, but it claimed that the plaintiff’s injuries were not caused by the accident. In support of its position, the insurance company attempted to present three expert witnesses. However, the court prevented the jury from considering the experts’ testimony.
The plaintiff presented the testimony of her own neurosurgeon. He testified that he performed a bone-fusion surgery on the plaintiff because the accident aggravated a pre-existing condition. The surgeon also noted that the plaintiff suffered from degenerative disc disease; however, he could not say when that disease began. The neurosurgeon also testified that the accident and subsequent surgery likely increased the chance that the plaintiff will need future surgeries by 15-20%.
After the jury returned a verdict in favor of the plaintiff awarding her only $7,000 in lost wages, the court granted the plaintiff’s motion for a new trial. The court did so based on the fact that the plaintiff’s expert testimony was not refuted. The insurance company appealed.
On appeal, the insurance company argued that the jury was free to come to the conclusion it did because the plaintiff’s expert did not state with any certainty that the accident caused the injury or would result in future complications. The court agreed, finding that the expert’s testimony was vague enough to allow the jury to come to the conclusion that the accident did not cause the plaintiff any permanent injury.
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. The dedicated South Florida car accident attorneys at the law firm of Friedman, Rodman & Frank have extensive experience representing clients in all types of car accident claims, including those involving underinsured or uninsured drivers. We also take care to ensure that our clients have all of their questions answered before recommending any particular course of action. Call 877-448-8585 to schedule a free consultation with a Florida personal injury attorney to discuss your case today.
More Blog Posts:
Court Rejects Plaintiff’s Medical Malpractice Case Against Pharmacy Following Medication Error, South Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, published December 26, 2017.
Student’s Premises Liability Case Against School Dismissed Based on Lack of Causation, South Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, published December 5, 2017.