Pedestrians that are struck by vehicles frequently suffer devastating injuries that cause permanent harm. As such, they will often pursue claims against the parties that struck them to help offset their damages. It is not uncommon in cases arising out of pedestrian crashes, though, for drivers to argue that the injured parties are, in fact, at fault for the crash, and therefore, they should not be awarded damages. In a recent Florida ruling, a court discussed what evidence is admissible to prove a plaintiff’s negligence in a pedestrian accident case. If you were struck by a vehicle while walking, it is smart to meet with a Florida pedestrian accident lawyer to assess your options.
The Plaintiff’s Harm
It is reported that the plaintiff was walking along a rural road at 7:00 pm on a summer day. Prior to embarking on his journey, he consumed alcoholic beverages at a convenience store. He admitted that he was unfamiliar with the area and impaired due to the alcohol. As such, he called a friend to ask for directions. He was then struck by the defendant’s van while he was talking on the phone.
Allegedly, the defendant stated that he moved away from the shoulder of the road to avoid the plaintiff, but the plaintiff veered into his lane of travel. The plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the defendant, alleging his negligence caused the accident. At trial, the defendant introduced evidence of the plaintiff’s BAC level, arguing that the plaintiff was impaired and caused the accident. The jury found in favor of the defendant, and the plaintiff appealed.
Admissibility of Evidence in Pedestrian Accident Cases
On appeal, the plaintiff argued that the trial court erred in admitting evidence of his BAC level. The court disagreed and affirmed the trial court ruling. The court explained that evidence would be deemed relevant if it is likely to prove or disprove a material fact. In cases in which the defendant alleges a plaintiff is comparatively negligent, the fact finder must hear evidence from each side regarding the negligence of the opposing party to determine the totality of fault.
Whether a party was intoxicated to the extent that his normal faculties were impaired is a question of fact that must be evaluated by the jury when there is considerable evidence presented on that issue. Evidence that is not speculative or uncertain is deemed considerable. Here, the court noted that the defendant was not required to demonstrate that the plaintiff’s intoxication was the primary cause of the crash, but only whether it contributed to the accident. Thus, the court found that evidence of the plaintiff’s BAC level was relevant and admissible.
Speak to a Dedicated Injury Lawyer in Florida
Pedestrians should be able to walk without fearing for their safety, but they are unfortunately often struck by negligent drivers. If you or someone you love suffered harm in a pedestrian collision, it is in your best interest to speak to an attorney about your rights. Jarrett Blakeley is a dedicated Florida pedestrian accident lawyer with the knowledge and resources needed to help you seek a just outcome. You can reach Mr. Blakeley at (800) 602-5000 or through the form online to set up a meeting.