People who drive while intoxicated often cause collisions and evidence of their intoxication at the time of the crash can typically be used to demonstrate their liability. If a drunk driver admits fault for a crash, however, evidence of their inebriation may not be admissible, as demonstrated in a recent Florida ruling. If you were injured in a crash caused by a drunk driver, it is critical to speak to a seasoned Florida car accident lawyer to assess your possible claims.
The Accident and Trial
Allegedly, the plaintiff was stopped at a red light when he was rear-ended by the defendant. An investigation revealed that the defendant was intoxicated at the time of the crash. The plaintiff suffered injuries in the collision and therefore filed a lawsuit against the defendant, asserting negligence claims and seeking punitive damages due to his intoxication. Prior to trial, the defendant stipulated his liability for the accident. He also admitted that if the plaintiff was granted compensatory damages, he would be entitled to punitive damages as well.
It is reported that, prior to trial, the defendant filed a motion to bifurcate the trial and to bar the plaintiff from introducing evidence of his intoxication during the compensatory damages phase, when the jury would determine whether the defendant caused the plaintiff’s harm and if so, the extent of his injuries. The court granted the motion with regard to bifurcation but ruled that the plaintiff could present evidence of the defendant’s intoxication. The jury granted the plaintiff over two and a half million dollars in compensatory damages, and the defendant appealed. Continue reading