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Articles Posted in Auto Accidents

Drunk driving accidents often cause catastrophic injuries. In some cases, the entity that served the intoxicated driver may be held liable for the harm ultimately sustained. Other factors can impact liability as well. For example, in many cases, the defense will argue that the plaintiff was comparatively negligent and, therefore their damages should be reduced. Recently, a Florida court discussed the interplay of comparative negligence and Florida’s dram shop laws in a case in which an intoxicated underage driver struck an intoxicated underage pedestrian. If you were injured in a drunk driving accident, you might be owed damages, and you should speak to an experienced Florida car accident attorney as soon as possible.

Facts of the Case

It is reported that the injured party, who was intoxicated and underage, was walking across the street when she was struck by a truck driven by a person who was also intoxicated and underage. The injured party suffered critical harm in the accident. The plaintiff, her guardian, subsequently filed claims against the bars that served the injured party and the driver. Default judgment was entered against the bar that served the injured party, and the court ruled that the bar that served the driver could not argue comparative negligence. Following the trial, the jury awarded the plaintiff close to $29 million. The bar that served the driver appealed.

Comparative Negligence and Florida’s Dram Shop Laws

On appeal, the appellate court ruled that the bar that served the driver should have been able to argue comparative negligence as a defense. Thus, it reversed the trial court ruling and remanded the case for further proceedings. Continue reading

Under Florida law, if a driver causes a collision while operating a borrowed car, both the driver and the owner of the vehicle may be held accountable for any damages that ensue. Some parties are immune from vicarious liability for collisions caused by people using their vehicles, though. Specifically, under a federal law referred to as the Graves Amendment, entities that lease or sell vehicles generally cannot be deemed vicariously liable for losses that arise out of the lease or sale of a car in their fleet. Recently, a Florida court issued an opinion discussing the Graves Amendment and explaining what evidence a party arguing it applies must produce to avoid liability. If you were involved in a crash with a borrowed car, it is advisable to meet with a Florida car accident attorney regarding what claims you may be able to pursue.

The Facts of the Case

It is alleged that the motorist visited a car dealership owned by the defendant to drop off his wife’s car. The defendant gave him a vehicle to use while he waited for his wife’s car to be serviced. The parties disputed whether the driver completed a rental agreement, however. A short time later, while driving the loaned vehicle, the driver was involved in a collision with the plaintiff. The plaintiff sustained significant injuries in the crash. She then filed a lawsuit asserting vicarious liability claims against the defendant. The defendant moved for dismissal via summary judgment, arguing that it was immune from liability pursuant to the Graves Amendment.

Exemption From Vicarious Liability Under the Graves Amendment

The Graves Amendment provides that certain parties are exempt from vicarious liability. In other words, it provides that entities that are engaged in the business of selling or leasing cars will not be held accountable for harm caused by a collision involving a car they leased or rented to a motorist. The Graves Amendment only applies if the driver in question was not negligent or engaged in criminal activity.   Continue reading

In many lawsuits arising out of collisions, it is abundantly clear that the plaintiff’s harm developed due to the crash. In some matters, though, the defendant will argue that the plaintiff’s alleged harm is not related to the accident. To support their argument, the defendant may hire an expert in biomechanics to offer testimony about the force produced by the crash and whether it could have brought about the plaintiff’s harm.  Recently, a Florida court discussed the use of experts in biomechanics in car crash cases in a matter in which the plaintiff argued that the expert lacked the qualifications to testify on the topic of causation. If you were hurt in a collision, it is important to meet with a trusted Florida car accident lawyer to assess what evidence may be used against you at trial.

History of the Case

Reportedly, the plaintiff suffered injuries in a car crash with the defendant. She later filed a lawsuit asserting that the defendant’s reckless operation of her vehicle caused the crash and her subsequent harm. In response, the defendant argued that the plaintiff’s purported injuries did not arise out of the accident and stated she intended to introduce testimony from an expert in biomechanics to support her position. The plaintiff then moved to have the defendant’s expert precluded, arguing that he lacked the qualifications to offer an opinion on the topic of causation. The court granted the plaintiff’s motion.

Admissibility of Expert Testimony on Causation in Car Accident Cases

In cases filed in federal court, Federal Rule of Evidence 702 dictates what expert testimony is admissible. Specifically, it provides that an individual who is qualified by training, experience, education, or skill can testify if their opinion will help the judge or jury determine a factual dispute or understand the evidence. Additionally, Rule 702 states that expert testimony must be based on facts or data and must be the result of reliable principles and methods. Continue reading

In Florida, a plaintiff in a car accident case generally must show that the defendant’s negligence caused the accident to recover damages. In turn, if a defendant can show that it was not their negligence but the negligence of the plaintiff that caused a collision, they may be able to obtain a verdict in their favor. While a defendant is permitted to introduce evidence suggesting a plaintiff’s fault, they cannot proffer information that is irrelevant or unduly prejudicial as discussed in a recent Florida opinion issued in a wrongful death case arising out of a car accident. If you lost a loved one in a fatal car crash, it is advisable to speak to a knowledgeable Florida car accident attorney about your rights.

The Subject Accident

Allegedly, the defendant, who was driving a car, collided with the decedent, who was operating a motorcycle.  The decedent sustained critical injuries in the accident and passed away shortly after. The plaintiff filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the defendant on behalf of the decedent’s estate, alleging that the defendant’s negligence caused the collision and the decedent’s death. No one observed the accident, but one witness saw the decedent shortly before and after the crash. She testified that she saw him perform a wheelie approximately five minutes before the collision and later arrived at the scene of the collision.

It is reported that before the trial, the plaintiff moved to bar the defendant from introducing evidence regarding the wheelie the decedent reportedly performed or suggesting that the wheelie led to the collision, on the basis that there was no evidence he performed a wheelie at the time of the accident. The decedent filed a response in opposition to the motion. Continue reading

When a person who is hurt in a car accident decides to pursue damages from the party responsible for the collision, the injured party’s medical records are usually discoverable. Even if plaintiffs agree to release documents pertaining to their medical treatment, though, a defendant may face difficulties obtaining such records if the treatment provider objects to their disclosure. The right of a defendant in a car accident case to review records from a third-party provider was the topic of a recent Florida opinion, in a matter in which the court ultimately declined to order the production of the documents. If you were injured in a collision, it is in your best interest to meet with a capable Florida car accident attorney regarding your rights.

The Plaintiff’s Treating Records

Reportedly, the plaintiff and the defendant were involved in a collision that caused the plaintiff to suffer back and neck injuries. The plaintiff then filed a lawsuit against the defendant, seeking damages under a theory of negligence. The defendant admitted he was liable for the accident but disputed the amount of damages the plaintiff was entitled to recover.

It is alleged that through the course of discovery, the defendant sought records from the numerous practitioners that treated the plaintiff, including one that specialized in treating spinal injuries (the provider). The provider objected to the request and filed a motion for a protective order, arguing the documents contained trade secrets and were protected from disclosure. Continue reading

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

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