Articles Posted in Car Accident

In lawsuits arising out of car accidents, it is not uncommon for a defendant to argue that a plaintiff suffered from a pre-existing condition and did not sustain actual harm in the collision. Thus, a defendant may seek medical records from a plaintiff that pre-date the crash. There are limits to what is discoverable, however, as discussed in a recent Florida ruling in which the court denied a motion to compel ten years of medical records in a car accident case on the grounds it violated the plaintiff’s right to privacy. If you were injured in a crash, it is advisable to consult a skillful Florida car accident attorney to discuss your options.

Background of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiff was injured in a car accident involving the defendant in 2014. She subsequently pursued negligence claims against the defendant in a lawsuit filed in 2018. Unfortunately, the plaintiff’s health declined, and in 2019 she was on hospice care and suffering from dementia and was unable to sit for a deposition. Thus, the defendant sought production of all of the plaintiff’s medical records for the past ten years. The plaintiff objected, arguing the request was overbroad and violated her constitutional right to privacy. Originally, the trial court sustained the objection, but it was later overruled, and the plaintiff was compelled to disclose the requested records. The plaintiff then petitioned the appellate court for certiorari.

The Right to Privacy in Personal Injury Cases

A petition for certiorari can only be granted if the person requesting it shows a departure from the essential requirements of the law, which will result in material harm for the rest of the case that cannot be repaired post-judgment. Upon review, the court noted that a patient’s medical records are entitled to confidential status pursuant to the right to privacy afforded by the Florida Constitution. As such, an order compelling production of medical records satisfies the element of irreparable harm. Continue reading

Many car accidents result in significant injuries. Thus, plaintiffs in lawsuits arising out of collisions often seek damages for the physical harm suffered by the victim, which usually requires the testimony of a medical expert to both establish liability and to describe what medical treatment is reasonable and necessary. Medical experts in personal injury cases must not only be qualified, but they must also formulate opinions that have a sufficient factual basis; otherwise, they may be prohibited from testifying. The parameters for determining whether an expert should be permitted to testify were the topic of a Florida opinion issued recently in a case arising out of a car crash. If you were hurt in an accident, you could be owed compensation for your losses, and it is in your best interest to speak to a seasoned Florida car accident attorney as soon as possible.

The Plaintiff’s Injuries and Claims

Reportedly, the plaintiff sustained injuries in an accident with a vehicle owned by the defendant. Specifically, he suffered injuries to his left arm, back, head and jaw, and suffered chronic headaches. Thus, he filed a lawsuit against the defendant, alleging negligence claims, and the defendant moved the case to federal court.

It is alleged that the plaintiff was treated with a physician who specializes in traumatic spine injuries for eight months after the accident and sought to have him offer expert testimony at trial regarding his treatment regimen and the cause of his injuries. The defendant moved to preclude the plaintiff’s expert on the issue of causation. Continue reading

In some instances, if a person is involved in a car accident in a borrowed car, the owner of the vehicle can be held liable for harm sustained in the collision. Generally, an owner’s fault will hinge on whether they consented to the driver’s use of the vehicle and knew or should have known that the borrower would not drive in a safe manner. Thus, if a plaintiff cannot prove the owner knew of the driver’s use of the vehicle, the claims against the owner may be dismissed prior to trial. If the plaintiff was not given a full opportunity to develop the evidence against the owner, though, dismissal might be premature, as shown in a recent Florida opinion. If you lost a loved one due to a crash with a borrowed car, it is advisable to meet with a skillful Florida car accident attorney to discuss your claims.

The History of the Case

It is alleged that the defendant driver, who was seventeen-years-old and did not have a license, took his mother’s sports car. He was driving on a Florida highway along with the plaintiff’s daughter and another male teenager. While driving at an excessive rate of speed, he lost control of the vehicle and crashed into a tree. Tragically, the plaintiff’s daughter died as a result of the injuries she sustained in the accident.

It is reported that the plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the defendant driver and his mother, alleging that the mother permitted the defendant driver to operate her vehicle despite the fact that he did not have a license. The defendant mother filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that the plaintiff could not prove her liability. The trial court granted the motion, and the plaintiff appealed.

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Florida is a popular tourist destination, and many visitors rent cars to travel during their vacations. If drivers with rented cars are injured in accidents, the other driver may lack adequate insurance to compensate them for their losses. Thus, they may seek damages from other sources, but it may not be clear who is ultimately responsible for providing compensation for the harm suffered. Recently, a Florida court set forth an opinion addressing the issue of whether a person hurt in a collision while driving a rental vehicle can recover uninsured motorist benefits from the insurer of the rental car. If you were hurt in a collision with an uninsured vehicle, you could be owed damages, and it is prudent to speak to a trusted Florida car accident attorney regarding your rights.

The Accident

It is reported that the plaintiff was involved in an accident with an uninsured motorist while operating a rental car. She filed a lawsuit against the defendant, the insurer of the rental car, arguing that it was required by law to make excess uninsured motorist coverage available in the amount of $1 million instead of $100,000. The defendant filed a motion for summary judgment. The court granted the motion, and the plaintiff appealed, and on appeal, the appellate court affirmed.

Florida Law Regarding Uninsured Motorist Coverage

Florida law requires insurers to make excess uninsured motorist coverage available to their insureds. The coverage amount must be up to the bodily injury liability limits of the policy or $1 million, whichever is less. To determine whether the defendant in the subject case complied with the law, the court had to assess whether the defendant made excess uninsured motorist coverage available to the rental car company that was the named insured and whether the insurer made the coverage available to the plaintiff, assuming it had a duty to do so.

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In many lawsuits arising out of car accidents, the parties will engage experts to testify in support of their claims or defenses. The law is well established as to whether certain information regarding the relationships between law firms and experts must be disclosed. Recently, though, a Florida court was presented with the question of whether the current law treats defendants in car accident cases unfairly, and therefore must be overruled. If you were hurt in a collision, it is prudent to meet with a trusted Florida car accident attorney to assess what evidence you must produce to prove liability.

The Underlying Accident

Allegedly, the plaintiff was injured in a car accident involving the defendant. He then filed a negligence lawsuit seeking compensation from the defendant. During the course of discovery, the plaintiff served interrogatories on the defendant seeking information regarding the financial relationship between the defendant’s attorneys and the defendant’s liability insurer and experts.

It is reported that the defendant objected to the request, arguing that her insurance company and attorney were not parties to the case. She sought a protective order as well. The trial court denied the defendant’s motion, however. The defendant then appealed.

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Many drivers in Florida either do not have insurance or lack adequate coverage. When drivers with insufficient insurance cause collisions, injured parties often have to look to their own insurers for benefits. People seeking uninsured motorist benefits must still prove liability and causation to recover damages from their insurer, though, as discussed in a recent Florida opinion in which the court reversed a directed verdict in favor of an insured. If you were injured in a crash caused by a driver with inadequate insurance, it is advisable to speak with a seasoned Florida car accident attorney to determine what damages you may be able to recover.

The Accident and Trial

The plaintiff was involved in a collision with the defendant driver that caused her to suffer a knee injury. She filed a lawsuit against the defendant driver and the owner of the vehicle he was driving at the time of the accident. As the defendant driver and owner lacked adequate insurance coverage, she filed an uninsured/underinsured motorist claim against her insurance company as well.

During the trial, the plaintiff filed a motion for a directed verdict on the issues of causation and the permanency of her injury, which the court granted. The jury then issued a verdict in favor of the plaintiff, and the defendant appealed, arguing that disputed issues of fact existed as to whether the accident caused her alleged harm.

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It is not uncommon for a person who suffers injuries in a collision to seek damages from the party that caused the accident. While normally individuals that recklessly cause car crashes may be deemed accountable in a civil lawsuit, in some instances, statutory exemptions will apply that bar the imposition of liability. This was discussed in a recent Florida ruling, in which the court found that Florida’s No-Fault Threshold prevented a plaintiff who was injured in a car crash from recovering damages from the defendant. If you suffered injuries in a collision, it is prudent to speak to a trusted Florida car accident attorney to determine what damages you may be able to recover.

The Accident and Subsequent Lawsuit

It is alleged that the plaintiff was driving his car when he was rear-ended by the defendant. Both parties were from Georgia, but the accident occurred in Florida. The plaintiff filed a civil lawsuit in Florida, seeking damages for his injuries from the defendant. The plaintiff moved for summary judgment as to a number of the affirmative defenses asserted by the defendant. The defendant withdrew most of his defenses but opposed the plaintiff’s motion as to the applicability of Florida’s No-fault Threshold. Thus, the only issue the court was tasked with addressing was whether the defendant could proceed with that defense.

Florida’s No-Fault Threshold

Under Florida Statutes 627.737, commonly referred to as the No-Fault Threshold, if a defendant has sufficient insurance or security at the time of an accident, the plaintiff must establish a threshold injury set forth under the law to be eligible to recover certain non-economic damages. An insurance policy will provide adequate security if it meets Florida’s statutory insurance requirements.

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Typically, when people hurt in car accidents file lawsuits, they will ask juries to decide issues of liability and damages. Juries are expected it issue impartial and reasoned verdicts. If a party suspects that a juror harbors a bias, then it can move to have a juror dismissed or a ruling overturned. In a recent opinion, a Florida appellate court explained the proper steps for identifying and contending with juror bias in a case arising out of a car crash. If you were harmed in a collision in Florida, it is advisable to talk to an assertive Florida car accident attorney to discuss what claims you may be able to pursue.

The Accident and Subsequent Trial

Allegedly, the defendant’s bus driver struck the plaintiffs while they were crossing a street. The plaintiffs filed a lawsuit against the defendant, arguing it was vicariously liable for the acts of its driver. The defendant admitted liability but disputed the plaintiffs’ damages. The case proceeded to trial, and the jury issued a verdict granting the plaintiffs approximately seven and a half million dollars. After the verdict was issued, the defendant learned that two of the jurors misrepresented their prior level of involvement in civil litigation. Thus, the defendant moved for a new trial, arguing juror misconduct. The trial court denied the defendant’s motion without conducting an evidentiary hearing, and the defendant appealed.

Identifying and Addressing Juror Bias

A touchstone of the right to a fair trial is a jury capable and willing to decide a case based on the evidence presented. Thus, the voir dire process through which attorneys screen potential jurors is essential as it allows attorneys to ask jurors questions that may uncover potential bias. If a juror commits misconduct by failing to answer a question correctly, though, and the deceit is not uncovered until after the trial, the fairness of the entire trial may be in question.

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Some car accidents that occur in Florida involve out of state parties. While a plaintiff has the right to choose where to file a lawsuit, a defendant can remove a state court case to federal court in lawsuits between parties of different states, even if a plaintiff objects. A plaintiff whose case has been removed is not necessarily without recourse, however, as there are avenues for remanding a matter back to a state court. Recently, in a lawsuit arising out of a car accident, a Florida federal court issued an opinion explaining when remanding a case is appropriate. If you were hurt in a car accident involving a driver from another state, you should consult a knowledgeable Florida car accident attorney to assess your options for seeking compensation.

Procedural History of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiff suffered harm in a car accident with the defendant driver, who was employed by the defendant company. The plaintiff filed a lawsuit alleging negligence claims against the defendant driver and vicarious liability claims against the defendant company. The plaintiff was unable to serve the defendant driver with the complaint, and it was ultimately revealed that she was permanently domiciled in Japan. The defendant company removed the case to federal court, and the parties litigated the case without the defendant driver.

Allegedly, mediation was conducted between the defendant company and the plaintiff. Upon realizing the defendant driver had not been served or participated in litigation, the court entered a rule to show cause why she should not be dismissed from the case. The plaintiff filed a motion to remand in response, arguing the court lacked jurisdiction over the matter.

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People that are hurt in car accidents often seek damages in civil lawsuits from the parties that caused the accident. Typically, a plaintiff that proves a defendant’s liability in an auto crash case will be awarded compensation for the cost of treating injuries and repairing property damage caused by the accident. In some instances, though, a plaintiff may be awarded other damages as well. In a recent Florida opinion, a district court of appeals discussed when a plaintiff may assert a punitive damages claim in a lawsuit arising out of a drunk driving accident. If you were hurt in a crash caused by an intoxicated driver, it is in your best interest to speak to a trusted Florida DUI accident attorney to discuss what damages you may be able to pursue.

Background of the Case

Allegedly, the plaintiff was walking on a Florida sidewalk when he was struck by a car driven by the defendant. The plaintiff filed a civil lawsuit against the defendant, asserting a negligence claim. An investigation revealed that the defendant was intoxicated due to marijuana and alcohol at the time of the accident. While the civil claim was pending, the defendant was charged with multiple DUI crimes, to which he pleaded guilty.

It is reported that after the defendant’s entry of a guilty plea, the plaintiff moved to amend his complaint to include a claim for punitive damages. The trial court held a hearing on the plaintiff’s motion, after which it issued an order granting the motion. The defendant filed a petition for certiorari review of the order, arguing that it should be quashed because the trial court did not set forth express findings when it determined the plaintiff could assert a claim for punitive damages. Upon review, the appellate court denied the defendant’s petition.

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