Generally, people who drive while intoxicated and cause accidents can be held liable for any injuries suffered by other people involved in the collision. Typically, evidence of intoxication is relevant and admissible in a lawsuit arising out of a crash, but there are some exceptions. For example, as explained in a recent Florida ruling, in cases in which a defendant admits liability and that punitive damages are warranted, such evidence should be precluded. If you were hurt in an accident caused by a drunk driver, it is advisable to meet with a trusted Florida car accident attorney to determine what damages you may be owed.
History of the Case
It is reported that the plaintiff suffered injuries in a rear-end car accident caused by the defendant. The defendant was intoxicated at the time of the crash. The plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the defendant, seeking compensatory and punitive damages due to the defendant’s intoxication. The defendant conceded liability and admitted that if the plaintiff was awarded compensatory damages, he would be owed punitive damages as well, and asked the court to bifurcate the trial and exclude evidence of his intoxication during the compensatory phase.
Allegedly, the court bifurcated the trial but permitted the plaintiff to admit evidence of the defendant’s intoxication during the first phase. The jury found in favor of the plaintiff, awarding him over $2.5 million. The defendant appealed, arguing in part that the trial court erred in permitting the plaintiff to introduce evidence of the defendant’s intoxication, despite the defendant’s admission of liability and concession to punitive damages. Continue reading