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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

When a rear-end collision happens, the second driver is often deemed liable for any harm suffered by the first driver. However, simply because a rear-end crash occurs does not mean the first driver is void of fault as a matter of law. This was demonstrated in a recent Florida ruling in a case arising out of a rear-end crash in which the court denied the plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment on the issue of liability, noting that there was a factual dispute as to whether the plaintiff was comparatively negligent. If you were hurt in a crash caused by another driver, it is prudent to speak to an assertive Florida car accident attorney to assess your possible claims.

The Accident

It is alleged that a multi-car collision occurred on a Florida highway. During the accident, the plaintiff’s vehicle was struck in the rear by a tractor-trailer driven by the defendant. The plaintiff sustained significant injuries in the accident, which required surgical repair. He subsequently filed a lawsuit against the defendant driver and his employer, alleging their negligence proximately caused his harm. At the close of discovery, the plaintiff moved for summary judgment. The court ultimately denied the plaintiff’s motion.

Fault in Rear-End Collisions

The court explained that summary judgment is only appropriate in cases in which it is clear that no true dispute over any material issue exists, and therefore the moving party has the right to judgment in its favor as a matter of law. The party seeking summary judgment is tasked with proving that there are no disputed issues of material fact. If the moving party meets this burden, any party opposing the motion must then set forth evidence sufficient to demonstrate the presence of a factual dispute that must be resolved via trial. Continue reading