Juries do not always assess damages and liability accurately, and the law affords both plaintiffs and defendants the right to request a new trial if they believe a jury’s verdict is improper. The standard a trial court must apply in determining whether a new trial should be granted is whether the verdict is against the weight of the evidence. If a trial court fails to apply this standard and issues an order granting a new trial on a different basis, it can result in the order being overruled on appeal, as illustrated in a recent case decided by a Florida Court of Appeals. If you were injured in a car accident you should consult with a South Florida car accident attorney as soon as possible to assist you in your pursuit of damages.

Facts Surrounding the Accident

Allegedly, defendant-wife was driving defendant-husband’s car on a day when it had been raining and the roads were wet. She approached an intersection where a car had stopped in front of her and applied her brakes but was unable to stop and consequently hit the car. The plaintiff’s husband was driving the car that defendant-wife struck, and the plaintiff was a passenger in the car. None of the parties involved in the accident went to the hospital following the accident. The plaintiff subsequently filed a lawsuit alleging claims of negligence against the defendants to recover damages for personal injuries sustained in the accident.

Evidence Submitted at Trial and the Jury’s Verdict

The main issues disputed at trial were whether the defendant-wife caused the accident and whether the plaintiff’s alleged injuries were caused by the accident. The plaintiff’s husband, defendant-wife, and another driver testified as to how the accident occurred and the events leading up to the accident. The court also heard testimony from the plaintiff and from both the plaintiff’s and the defendant’s medical experts regarding the plaintiff’s alleged injuries. While it was admitted that the plaintiff suffered from back issues prior to the incident, it was disputed whether the accident caused a new injury, exacerbated an existing injury, or caused no additional harm. The jury found in favor of the defense.

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Injured parties generally do not consider the procedural aspects of a lawsuit, but they are very important to advancing a case. Where an attorney does not comply with the applicable rules of procedure it may result in delays in a resolution of the claims and, in some cases, may cause the case to be dismissed altogether.

In a recent case, Moss v. Estate of Hudson, a Florida Court of Appeals found that service of a Complaint on the defendant was not proper, and therefore, entered a motion to quash service. If you suffered the loss of a loved one due to a car accident in South Florida, it is important to retain an experienced South Florida car accident attorney who is thoroughly versed in what is required to comply with the laws of procedure.

Florida Laws Regarding Service of Complaint

Florida law requires a plaintiff to serve a defendant with the Complaint. If the plaintiff is unable to serve the defendant, in some cases the plaintiff can obtain substituted service. Under Florida Statute 48.171 if the defendant is a non-resident or resident who owns and operates a vehicle in Florida, who has since moved or is concealing his or her location, the operation of the vehicle within the state constitutes the Secretary of State as the defendant’s agent with regards to service of a Complaint in a case arising out of a car accident.

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Car accidents involving uninsured motorists often cause financial hardship. In many cases, your insurance policy allows you to recover uninsured motorist (UIM) benefits from your insurance provider, which can help ease your financial burden.  At times, however, you and your insurer may not agree on what benefits you are entitled to under the terms of your policy.

In a recent case, a Florida Court of Appeals held that where a policy’s language was unambiguous, an exclusion for uninsured motorist benefits for resident relatives of the insured was valid. If you are involved in a car accident in South Florida, you should consult a knowledgeable Florida car accident attorney to aid you in understanding the terms of your policy and the meanings of any exclusions.

Coverage under the Policies

Reportedly, the plaintiff and her mother lived together and each owned a vehicle. The defendant insured both the plaintiff and her mother under separate auto insurance policies. The mother was the only named insured on her policy, which had an uninsured motorist coverage limit of $100,000, while both the plaintiff and her mother were named insureds under the plaintiff’s policy, which had a substantially lower uninsured motorist coverage limit of $25,000. The policies were otherwise the same. Both policies included exclusionary language stating there was no coverage for an insured who sustains an injury while occupying a vehicle owned by the insured or a resident relative if it is not the insured’s car. The policies also stated that if the uninsured motorist coverage of the policy and any other policy issued to the insured or a resident relative both applied to the same injury, the coverage limits would not be added together.

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It is important to be aware that many contracts contain arbitration clauses. An arbitration clause means that instead of bringing a dispute to court, any disagreements will be heard by an unbiased arbitrator. Arbitration is faster and less costly than traditional litigation. However, the parties also do not have all the rights that they would normally have in court. In a case heard by the Florida Third District Court of Appeal, the court looked at an arbitration clause that was included in a contract to buy a car. If you are in a car accident like the plaintiff here, you should contact an experienced South Florida car accident attorney and they can help you to bring your claims in court. They also can represent you in any arbitration mandated by a contract.

Events Leading Up to the Car Accident 

The plaintiff purchased a car from the defendant. In the contract for the sale of the car, there was an arbitration provision. It allowed the plaintiff to bring any actions arising out of the purchase of the car in arbitration. A few hours after buying the car, the plaintiff got into a car accident. He believes that the accident was caused by defects in the new car. The plaintiff then filed suit against the defendant.

When someone is injured in a car accident, an applicable insurance policy may cover their losses due to the accident. However, any damages after a car accident are only recoverable if the accident was the cause of the damages. This may seem obvious, but as your experienced South Florida car accident attorney can tell you, in the courtroom it can be more complicated than it seems at first.

Trial Court Holding

While he was driving, the plaintiff was struck from behind. Luckily, the plaintiff had an insurance policy that covered him under his uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. As he did not believe he was properly compensated, he sued the insurance company. Both the insurance company defendant and the plaintiff agree that the driver who hit him was acting negligently. However, where the parties disagree is whether certain injuries were caused by the accident or whether they were already existing and thus not eligible for compensation under the policy.

When a patient goes into a drug and alcohol detox facility, they expect to receive adequate care. In a tragic case out of Florida, a man died at a drug detox facility. His estate sued the doctor and the detox facility itself. Specifically, they allege that the doctor was negligent in his supervision of the nurse on duty on the evening before the plaintiff’s untimely death. If you are concerned that you or a loved one has been injured or died as a result of the negligence of someone else, an experienced South Florida personal injury attorney can help you hold the wrongdoers accountable.

Events Leading up to the Patient’s Death 

The plaintiff was purportedly admitted to the detox center with noticeable track marks. The defendant physician is the medical director of the facility. However, the doctor acts as an overseer and it is up to the advanced registered nurse practitioners (ARNPs) to do the direct supervision of patients at the facility. It is also up to the ARNPs to decide whether the facility is adequate for the patient’s needs or whether they need to be admitted to the hospital.

Before leaving for the evening, the ARNP allegedly checked on the plaintiff. At that time, he was sitting upright and talking and his vital signs were improving. She claimed that she planned to begin the detox process the next morning. Unfortunately, the plaintiff died sometime early that morning. The cause of death was endocarditis, a heart infection common in intravenous drug users.

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You probably know that people injured in car accidents in Florida can recover damages for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. However, in some cases, people who have been injured in car accidents or other personal injury actions may also be able to recover attorney’s fees on top of their other damages. Your skilled South Florida car accident attorney can help you to determine whether your case may qualify for recovery of attorney’s fees.

When You Can Recover Attorney Fees 

As noted above, if you are injured in a car accident, you may be able to recover attorney fees as well as your other damages. Before your case goes to trial, typically your attorney will have sent the other party a proposal for settlement. If they decline the settlement, and you go to trial, you can get attorney fees if the jury awards you at least 25% more than what you asked for in the settlement.

The American justice system is based on the idea that judgment should come from a jury of one’s peers. Even in civil cases, the court relies on the jury to decide who should prevail and the amount of damages that should be awarded. The court does have mechanisms where they can increase the amount of damages awarded, called “additur.” However, additur is only supposed to be used in extreme cases. A knowledgeable South Florida car accident attorney can help you to present your case in a way so that the jury will understand the true amount of injury and suffering from the beginning.

The Car Accident

During stop and go traffic on I-95, the plaintiff in this case was rear-ended by the defendant. They dispute how severe the accident was, but the plaintiff’s airbag did not deploy and EMS was not called. After the accident, the plaintiff went to get her hair washed and returned to work. Later the plaintiff had chiropractic treatment and physical therapy. She did not receive any injections, pain medication, or surgery related to the injuries. A year after the accident the plaintiff brought a negligence suit against the defendant.

When you go to a restaurant, you expect the food you are served to be safe. However, this does not always happen. The United States District Court of the Middle District of Florida heard a case related to food poisoning. If you get sick or injured at a restaurant, an experienced South Florida personal injury attorney can help you to hold the responsible parties accountable.

Standards of Negligence

In order to recover damages, plaintiffs must generally prove that their injuries were caused by another’s negligence. Negligence has several elements: first, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant owed them a duty of care. In order to owe someone a duty, you must have a certain kind of relationship. Businesses have a duty to their patrons to keep them reasonably safe and warn them of non-obvious hazards that they are aware of. Thus, proving that there was a duty of care should not be an issue in this case.

The second thing that must be proven is that the defendant breached their duty of care, which usually means that they acted unreasonably under all of the circumstances. Part of this element also requires that the plaintiff show evidence of what the standard of care for the particular industry or circumstances are. This can often be the most difficult part for plaintiffs as sometimes the business will be acting reasonably but accidents still happen.

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On July 1, 2016, there was a shooting at a nightclub in Palmetto, Florida. Three patrons of the nightclub were shot, and others were trampled in the ensuing chaos. Now, several of those injured in the incident have sued the nightclub for damages. Even though the nightclub owners were not the ones who did the shooting, the plaintiffs in this case allege that the owners were negligent in several important ways. A skilled South Florida personal injury attorney can help you to determine whether you may be able to recover damages for any injuries that you have suffered due to the fault of another.

Duty Owed By Nightclub Owner

When a business opens its doors to the public, whether a nightclub, grocery store, or offices, they owe a duty to the patrons of the establishment. Generally, the owners and managers owe a duty to keep things reasonably safe for patrons. However, what is considered reasonable in any given circumstance is dependent upon a number of different factors.