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.
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.
Negligence as a Matter of Law
On appeal, the court explained that it is extremely rare for a directed verdict to be appropriate in a negligence case. The court elaborated that a motion for a directed verdict should be reserved where causes in which the evidence presented demonstrates that the jury could not dispute the presence of a material fact, and therefore a directed verdict is warranted in favor of the party that filed the motion. Further, the evidence must be viewed in a manner that is most favorable to the party opposing the motion, rather than the party that filed it.
Here, the appellate court found that the trial court’s ruling on the issue of the defendants’ negligence was premature. Specifically, the court found that a jury reviewing the circumstances surrounding the accident could have found that the plaintiff was partially or completely at fault for the collision. Thus, the court reversed the trial court’s ruling and remanded the matter for a new trial.
Speak to an Experienced Florida Truck Accident Attorney
Accidents involving commercial trucks can cause catastrophic harm, and in many instances, people hurt in such collisions are entitled to damages. If you were injured in a truck accident, experienced Florida attorney Jarrett Blakeley can analyze the facts surrounding your crash and advise you what claims you may be able to set forth in pursuit of damages. You can reach Mr. Blakeley through the form online or by calling (800) 602-5000 to schedule a meeting.