Articles Posted in Truck Accident

When a case is to be decided by a jury rather than a judge, the parties must engage in the process of jury selection prior to trial. During the process, the parties will attempt to determine whether any potential jurors harbor explicit or implicit biases that may render them unable to make objective decisions and, if so, may seek to preemptively strike them from serving on the jury. If a court inappropriately denies a party’s request to strike a juror, it may result in an unfair trial, as demonstrated in a ruling recently issued by a Florida court in a truck accident case. If you were hurt in a collision involving a commercial truck, it is advisable to speak to a Florida truck accident lawyer regarding your rights.

The History of the Case

Reportedly, the plaintiff’s decedent was driving on a highway through a construction zone. He was following the defendant motorist. The defendant truck driver was approaching from the opposite direction. The defendant motorist then swerved into the defendant truck driver’s lane, sideswiping the truck and causing it to jackknife and crash into the decedent’s vehicle. The decedent died due to the injuries sustained in the accident, and his wife, the plaintiff, filed a lawsuit against the defendants.

It is alleged that during jury selection, the plaintiff sought to use a peremptory strike against a juror whose husband had worked in the trucking industry. The trial court denied the strike due to the fact that the juror was the only African-American on the panel, and the plaintiff failed to meet the race-neutral test established by Florida case law. The issue was revisited prior to trial, but the court maintained its position. The jury ultimately returned a verdict for the plaintiff but found the defendant truck driver was not liable. The plaintiff filed a motion for a new trial, which the court granted. The defendants then appealed. Continue reading

Collisions involving trucks often cause fatal injuries, resulting in substantial emotional and economic losses. As such, it is not uncommon for a defendant in a lawsuit arising out of a truck accident to seek dismissal of the plaintiff’s claims via summary judgment. A defendant moving for dismissal faces a high burden of proof, however, and in most instances, summary judgment is not appropriate. The standard for granting summary judgment was the topic of a recent Florida opinion, in a case in which the defendant argued that video evidence thwarted the plaintiff’s claims. If you were hurt in a crash caused by a truck, you may be owed damages, and it is in your best interest to meet with a trusted Florida car accident attorney to determine your possible claims.

The Accident

It is alleged that the decedent’s car crashed into the back of a commercial truck operated by the defendant driver. The decedent suffered critical injuries in the accident and passed away shortly after. His estate filed a lawsuit against the defendant driver and his employer, alleging their negligence caused the decedent’s death. During discovery, a video was produced that refuted the plaintiff’s assertion that the defendant driver was operating the truck negligently. The defendant filed a motion for summary judgment relying on the video, which the court granted. The plaintiff appealed, and the appellate court reversed the trial court ruling. The defendants then appealed, and the question of whether the summary judgment standard should be modified in cases involving video evidence was certified to the Florida Supreme Court.

Grounds for Granting Summary Judgment in Florida

On appeal, the court noted the intermediate court stated it was compelled to reverse the trial court ruling based on the current summary judgment standard, which states that summary judgment is unwarranted if the evidence of record inspires the slightest doubt regarding whether a material issue of fact exists. Continue reading

Parties that cause fatal truck accidents will often refuse to concede their fault, and in many cases, they will attempt to blame the person that died for the collision. Although defendants in truck accident cases are permitted to argue the contributory negligence of the deceased person as a defense, they cannot rely on inadmissible evidence to support their position. In a recent Florida lawsuit, a court issued a ruling that discussed whether hearsay evidence is admissible to establish comparative fault. If you suffered the loss of a loved one due to a collision with a tractor-trailer, it is advisable to talk to a seasoned Florida truck accident attorney to assess your options.

The Fatal Accident

It is reported that the plaintiff’s husband was at work when he was struck and killed by a tractor-trailer owned by the defendant company and operated by the defendant driver. The plaintiff filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the defendants, alleging their negligence caused her husband’s death. During the trial, the defendants presented testimony from a police officer who stated that another officer advised him the plaintiff’s husband had an earbud in his ear when he was found at the scene of the accident. After the final judgment was rendered, the plaintiff appealed, arguing in part that the trial court erred in permitting the officer’s testimony because it constituted hearsay.

Admissibility of Hearsay Evidence in Trucking Accident Cases

Upon review, the appellate court noted that the officer was likely testifying as an expert at trial. Thus, the court analyzed the extent to which he was allowed to rely on inadmissible facts. The court explained that if the facts are of a nature that is reasonably reliable, they do not need to be admissible into evidence. Facts that are otherwise inadmissible, though, may not be disclosed to the jury by an expert witness unless the court finds that their probative value greatly outweighs the risk of their prejudicial impact. Continue reading

When a collision occurs, it is often due to the negligence of one or more parties. As such, many people hurt in accidents file lawsuits seeking damages. A plaintiff in a case arising out of a truck accident does not need to prove the defendant’s liability at the initial pleading stage but must set forth allegations that are sufficient to allow the defendant to formulate a response and a defense. Inadequate or vague assertions can result in a dismissal of the plaintiff’s case, as demonstrated in a recent Florida ruling, in which the court found that the plaintiff’s complaint seeking damages for a truck accident amounted to a “shotgun” pleading.  If you were injured in a crash with a commercial truck, you could be owed compensation, and it is advisable to consult a dedicated Florida truck accident attorney as soon as possible.

The Accident and Subsequent Pleadings

It is alleged that a collision occurred between a tractor-trailer and another vehicle. The plaintiff, a passenger in the vehicle, sustained significant injuries. As such, he filed a lawsuit against the defendants, the companies that owned the tractor and the trailer. The defendants removed the case from state court to federal court and then filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that the plaintiff failed to assert claims for relief. The court noted deficiencies in the complaint but granted the plaintiff leave to amend the pleading.

It is reported that after the plaintiff filed an amended complaint, the defendants once again filed a motion to dismiss, arguing the plaintiff merely set forth legal conclusions and failed to assert any facts or allegations that would allow him to recover damages, which violated the court’s rules regarding shotgun pleadings. The plaintiff amended the complaint a second time, and the defendants again moved to dismiss two of the plaintiff’s claims. The court granted the defendants’ motion.

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Typically, collisions involving commercial trucks occur due to reckless driving. Thus, many of the claims arising out of truck accidents will allege that the truck driver should be held liable under a theory of negligence. Even if a plaintiff believes the evidence clearly demonstrates that a motorist caused an accident, however, the issue of causation must usually be resolved by a jury. This was demonstrated in a recent Florida opinion, in which the appellate court reversed the trial court’s ruling that a truck driver was negligent as a matter of law. If you were hurt in a crash involving a tractor-trailer, it is in your best interest to consult a skillful Florida truck accident attorney to discuss what you must prove in order to recover damages.

The Accident

It is reported that the plaintiff was driving down a Florida highway when it struck a truck owned by the defendant company. The defendant driver, who was employed by the defendant company, later testified that he was in the process of backing the truck out of a business’s lot when the accident occurred. The crash happened in the early morning hours, and there was no illumination on the road. The plaintiff filed a negligence lawsuit against the defendants, seeking damages for the injuries caused by the accident.

Allegedly, during a trial on the matter, the defendants’ attorney conceded that the defendant driver acted negligently but suggested negligence on behalf of the plaintiff as well. At the close of the defendants’ case, however, the court granted the plaintiff’s motion for a directed verdict and issued a verdict in favor of the plaintiff on the issue of whether the defendants’ negligence caused the plaintiff’s harm. Following the trial, the defendant appealed, arguing the issue of causation should have been presented to the jury.

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Truck accidents can cause substantial injuries and economic losses. Proving liability can be complicated, though, and in many instances, both parties will try to settle a case before trial. While negotiations typically will occur, if parties cannot agree on the essential terms of the settlement, the case will eventually be presented to a jury. In a recent opinion, a Florida court discussed what constitutes a valid agreement to settle in a case in which the defendant argued that it accepted the terms of an offer prior to trial. If you were injured in an accident with a tractor-trailer, it is prudent to speak with a skilled Florida truck accident attorney to determine whether you may have a viable claim for damages.

The Accident and Settlement Negotiations

It is alleged that the plaintiff suffered injuries in an accident with a dump truck owned by the defendant and driven by one of its employees. The plaintiff, who was working at the time of the accident, filed a workers’ compensation claim and then filed a lawsuit against the defendant. The workers’ compensation carrier then filed a notice of a lien against any settlement the plaintiff may obtain in the civil lawsuit.

It is reported that the plaintiff sent the defendant an offer to settle the matter for $500,000, to be paid to the plaintiff only. The defendant contacted the plaintiff’s attorney to request that the settlement include the satisfaction of the workers’ compensation lien. The plaintiff’s attorney refused, but the defendant sent the plaintiff’s counsel a check made payable to both the plaintiff and the workers’ compensation carrier. The plaintiff denied that the check created a valid settlement agreement, and the trial court agreed. Following a trial, the defendant appealed.

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