In Bryan v. Whitfield, a Florida man apparently suffered a traumatic brain injury in a car accident that occurred on Interstate 10 in Santa Rosa County. More than two years after the collision occurred, the man filed a personal injury lawsuit against a tractor-trailer driver and his employer in the Northern District of Florida. According to the injured man’s complaint, the semi-truck driver committed negligence when he struck another car from behind and caused the multi-vehicle crash in which the man was hurt.
Following the collision, the company that owned the big rig admitted the driver committed negligence. The company also stated it was liable for the driver’s negligent acts under the doctrine of respondeat superior. This legal doctrine states an employer may be held responsible for the negligent acts of a worker when the acts are performed within the course of the worker’s employment. In addition, the company admitted the plaintiff suffered permanent harm in the collision. As a result, the only issue at trial was the injured man’s past and future non-economic damages.
Prior to trial, the defendants filed four separate motions to exclude certain evidence. The Northern District of Florida first considered the defendants’ request to exclude testimony that the hurt man suffered injuries consistent with an improvised explosive device (“IED”) exploding near his head. According to the defendants, the evidence was impermissible under Federal Rule of Evidence 403 due to the likelihood it would cause the jury to decide the case based on emotion. The court found that the plaintiff’s analogy was highly inflammatory and had military connotations that were not related to the case. Since the IED analogy was likely to appeal to the jury’s emotion, the federal court ruled it was not permitted at trial. Still, the court reserved judgment regarding whether a more general bomb explosion analogy could be introduced to jurors.
Next, the Northern District of Florida deferred ruling on the defendants’ request to exclude statements indicating the hurt man was lucky to have survived the semi-truck crash until trial. The court then stated the man was permitted to introduce evidence that he suffered mental anguish because he was fearful of losing his job as a result of his injuries. Finally, the court denied the defendants’ motion to exclude certain witness testimony in support of the plaintiff’s mental anguish claim because the motion was filed nearly two weeks past the deadline for doing so.
If you were injured in a tractor-trailer collision in South Florida, you should discuss your rights with an experienced Miami personal injury attorney as soon as you can. To speak with a caring Broward County traffic accident lawyer today, give the knowledgeable advocates at Friedman, Rodman & Frank, P.A. a call at (305) 448-8585 or contact us through our website.
Bryan v. Whitfield, Dist. Court, ND Florida 2015
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