Articles Posted in Car Accident

The law affords plaintiffs in car accident cases certain rights and protections, so that they may pursue their case without fear of disclosure of privileged information. One of the protections afforded is the attorney-client privilege. The attorney-client privilege allows a plaintiff to communicate with his or her attorney freely, with the assurance that the contents of any communication will not be disclosed.

A Florida appellate court recently analyzed the attorney-client privilege in the context of a plaintiff’s medical treatment in a car accident case, ultimately holding that the privilege protected information regarding the relationship between a plaintiff’s attorney and the plaintiff’s treating physician. If you sustained injuries in a car accident in South Florida, you should meet with a knowledgeable personal injury attorney regarding your options for pursuing damages.

Procedural Background

Reportedly, the plaintiff was a pedestrian injured in a car accident with the defendant, an attorney, while the defendant was driving a company car. During discovery, the defendant sought information regarding the relationship between the plaintiff’s attorney and the plaintiff’s treating physician. The plaintiff objected to the requests, but the trial court found that the request did not seek information that was protected under the attorney-client privilege. As such, the plaintiff provided the defendant with information regarding payments made from his attorney’s firm to the plaintiff’s treating physician and letters of protection.

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Under Florida law, in cases arising from car accidents in which a second driver rear-ends the first driver, the first driver is entitled to a rebuttable presumption that the second driver is solely at fault for the accident. Recently, a Florida court of appeals discussed the sufficiency of evidence needed to rebut the presumption, in a case in which it upheld a summary judgment in favor of the plaintiff as to the issue of liability. If you were involved in a South Florida car accident in which you were rear-ended, it is important to retain a skilled personal injury attorney to assist you in pursuing any damages you may be owed.

Allegations Regarding the Accident

Reportedly, the plaintiff was driving on a road she was not familiar with when she wanted to make a U-turn. She moved toward the median of the road and realized she could not make a U-turn. She slowed down but still maintained a speed of at least thirty miles an hour, and denied applying her brakes at any time. She was subsequently struck from behind by the defendant. She filed a negligence lawsuit against the defendant. Prior to the trial, the plaintiff filed a motion for summary judgment as to the issues of causation and liability. After a jury issued a verdict in favor of the plaintiff, the defendant appealed the court’s order granting the motion.

Rebuttable Presumption of Liability Under Florida Law

The court stated that under Florida law, there is a rebuttable presumption that a driver who rear-ends another driver is negligent. The court noted, however, that the presumption that the rear driver should be held solely liable for the accident can be rebutted if there is evidence that shows the first driver was also negligent. Additionally, the court stated that the presumption of negligence of the rear driver does not render the front driver immune from liability for comparative negligence. Rather, if the facts are disputed as to whether the first driver was comparatively negligent the issue should be submitted to the jury.

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Discovery is an essential tool in litigation. It allows plaintiffs to gather support for their claims that the defendant caused the plaintiff’s harm and should be held accountable for any resulting damages. Defendants are afforded certain protections in the discovery process, however, and cannot be compelled to produce privileged information.

As shown in a recent case in which a Florida appellate court upheld an order compelling discovery, a defendant is not permitted to inappropriately evade discovery based on false claims of privilege. If you sustained damages in a South Florida car accident, you should confer with an experienced attorney to discuss your case and any potential obstacles to your recovery of damages.

Factual and Procedural History

Reportedly, the plaintiffs were involved in a motor vehicle collision with the defendant driver. At the time of the accident, the defendant driver was driving a tractor-trailer owned by the defendant employer. The plaintiffs filed a lawsuit against the defendants and the parties engaged in discovery. During the discovery process, the defendants listed a private investigator as a fact witness. The private investigator was subpoenaed for a deposition and asked to bring any documents containing information regarding his investigation of the plaintiffs. At the end of the private investigator’s deposition, plaintiff’s counsel indicated the private investigator would provide further opinions at a later date.

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While in many car accidents it is easy to identify the party that caused the accident, in some cases the negligent driver cannot be identified. In cases involving a phantom motorist, an injured party may be able to recover uninsured motorist benefits from his or her insurer, if the injured party can establish negligence. Often in cases involving a phantom motorist negligence must be established via circumstantial evidence.

In a recent case, a Florida district court of appeal set forth the standard under which inferences that are described or claimed in a negligence action must be reviewed. If you suffered harm due to a South Florida car accident, it is important to retain a seasoned attorney who will work diligently on your behalf to help you recover any damages you may be owed.

Facts Surrounding the Accident

Reportedly, the plaintiff was a passenger in a minivan when the minivan came upon a ladder that was laying across the road. The driver of the minivan stopped suddenly and was struck from behind by a delivery truck. The plaintiff filed a negligence claim against the driver of the delivery truck and an uninsured motorist claim against the driver of the minivan’s insurance company. At trial, following the conclusion of the plaintiff’s case the insurance company filed a motion for a directed verdict, arguing that there was no evidence the ladder came from another vehicle, and even if it did there was no evidence of negligence. The court denied the insurer’s motion. At the conclusion of the trial, the jury found the phantom motorist that allegedly owned the ladder sixty percent at fault and the delivery driver forty percent at fault. The insurer appealed.

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In car accident cases where liability is clear it is often easier and more efficient to agree to settle. While theoretically settling a case is easier than proceeding with litigation, there must be clear evidence of an agreement to settle and the agreed upon terms for a case to be disposed of via settlement.

The United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida rejected a defendant’s motion for summary judgment asking the court to dismiss a case due to a settlement agreement, on the grounds that an issue of fact existed as to whether a valid agreement was entered into by the parties. If you suffered harm due to a car accident in South Florida, you should speak with an experienced car accident attorney to develop a plan for seeking compensation.

Settlement Negotiations

Allegedly, the defendant rear-ended a car driven by a second driver, causing it to rear-end a car driven by the plaintiff. The plaintiff’s son was in the car at the time of the accident. The plaintiff’s attorney subsequently sent a settlement demand to a claims adjuster for the defendant’s auto insurer, stating the plaintiff and his son would settle the case for the defendant’s policy limit of $20,000 if the defendant provided affidavits verifying that there was no other insurance covering the defendant and that the defendant was not acting in the scope of her employment at the time of the accident. The demand also set forth a deadline for the insurer to reply.

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In car accident cases where it is alleged a car was unsafe due to either the manner in which it was designed or manufactured, the car itself can be important evidence in establishing liability. In some cases, a plaintiff has a duty to preserve the car so that the opposing party may inspect it, and the failure to do so may adversely affect the plaintiff’s case.

Recently, the United States District Court of the Southern District of Florida analyzed the factors needed to impose an adverse inference against the plaintiff for failing to preserve a car that was allegedly defective. If you were injured in a South Florida car accident, you should speak with an experienced attorney as soon as possible to avoid taking any actions that could adversely affect your case.

Factual and Procedural Background

It is reported that the plaintiff was involved in a one vehicle accident, in which he swerved to avoid a car that made an improper lane change and lost control of his vehicle. His vehicle left the roadway and flipped over, landing on its roof. He suffered severe injuries and required amputation of his left arm. The plaintiff’s insurance company deemed the plaintiff’s car a total loss. The plaintiff transferred the title of his vehicle to the insurer. Neither the plaintiff nor the insurer preserved the vehicle. The plaintiff subsequently filed a product liability action against the defendant car manufacturer alleging that his car was defective.

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When an automobile insurance policy is not properly issued,  it can result in insufficient or absent coverage following a car accident and legal battles as to whose negligence caused the inadequate coverage. Under Florida law, until recently, defendants could be held joint and severally liable for any negligent harm caused to the plaintiff, which means one defendant could have to pay the entire amount of a judgment awarded. In 2006, however, the Florida legislature passed a comparative fault statute that eliminated joint and several liability in negligence cases.

In a recent case involving the negligent failure to provide automobile insurance coverage ,a Florida court held that the comparative negligence statute should be applied retroactively, requiring all parties to bear responsibility for a percentage of the damages. If you were involved in a South Florida car accident, it is essential to retain an attorney knowledgeable about recent changes in the law and how those changes affect your case.

Facts Regarding the Applicable Insurance Policy

Reportedly, the plaintiff’s brother owned two similarly named companies: one in Florida and one in the Bahamas. The plaintiff and his brother sought insurance for the Bahamian company, but the insurer issued coverage for the Florida company. The plaintiff, who worked for his brother’s Bahamian company, was subsequently injured in a car accident in the Bahamas, and sought coverage for the accident. The insurer denied coverage, on the grounds the Bahamian company was not covered by a policy of insurance.

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While the majority of South Florida car accident cases are pursued in state court, in some cases it may be more beneficial to file a case in federal court. There are certain requirements for litigating a case in federal court, however, and a federal court will remand the case to state court if it finds it does not have jurisdiction over the matter. Federal jurisdictional requirements must be met whether a plaintiff files the initial pleading in federal court, or a defendant removes the case to federal court.

Recently, a Florida district court remanded a case removed by the defendant back to state court, finding that there was insufficient proof of damages for the court to retain jurisdiction. If you sustained harm due to a South Florida car accident, it is important to retain an attorney who is well-versed in the procedural requirements for proving your case in either state or federal court.

Removal to Federal Court

Allegedly, the plaintiff was involved in a car accident, after which she filed a lawsuit in state court, naming two defendants. One of the defendants removed the case to federal court on the grounds of diversity jurisdiction. The court, in assessing whether the removal was proper, issued an order requiring the removing defendant to supplement the Notice of Removal to show why the case should not be remanded and stated that if the defendant failed to do so the case would be remanded without notice.

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Drunk driving accidents are unfortunate occurrences that frequently cause serious and often fatal injuries. In addition to seeking damages from the drunk driver, Florida law permits injured parties to seek compensation from anyone who served the driver alcohol if they knew the driver was a habitual addict.

The injured party must present adequate evidence of addiction, however, and the failure to do so may be fatal to their claim, as illustrated in a recent case decided by a Florida appellate court. If you were injured in a South Florida car accident caused by a drunk driver, you should retain an experienced personal injury attorney to provide you with a strong chance for a successful outcome under the circumstances.

Facts Regarding the Driver’s Consumption of Alcohol and the Subsequent Accident

Reportedly, the defendant driver struck two couples on mopeds from behind at 10:15 pm when he was on his way home from work. All of the individuals on the mopeds were injured and one individual died from her injuries. The driver was employed at a Key West restaurant and worked until 5:00 pm that evening. After he was done working, he remained at the bar and consumed several alcoholic beverages.  The bartender on duty stated the defendant was not drunk when he arrived, but when he left at 10:00 pm he was intoxicated, stumbling and slurring his speech. It was stipulated that the defendant driver’s blood alcohol level at the time of the crash was .2 grams per deciliter. The injured parties and the personal representative of the deceased party filed an action to recover damages from the defendant driver and his employer. The plaintiffs’ claims against the employer were based, in part, on a Florida statute that imposes liability on anyone who serves alcohol to a person habitually addicted to alcohol, if the person then injures a third party.

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Many car accidents are not caused solely by the negligence of one party but occur due to a combination of factors. Under Florida law, if a party who is injured in a car accident is partially at fault for causing the accident, he or she is not barred from recovering damages, but any damages awarded will be adjusted proportionately to his or her degree of fault.

Recently, a Florida court of appeals overturned a verdict in favor of a plaintiff who was injured in a car accident, where the trial court refused to instruct the jury regarding the plaintiff’s unlawful operation of his vehicle. If you or a loved one were harmed due to a South Florida car accident, you should consult a knowledgeable car accident attorney to help you analyze any detrimental evidence that may be introduced against you.

Evidence Introduced at Trial

Allegedly, the plaintiff was injured while operating a scooter on a causeway. Evidence introduced at trial established that he was operating the scooter at approximately 30 miles below the posted speed limit and below the average speed of motorists on the causeway. During the trial, the defendants requested a jury instruction regarding Florida statutes which prohibited the use of any motor-driven cycle on a limited access facility and defining a limited access facility as a street or highway designed for traffic. The court rejected the defendants’ request, and the jury issued a verdict in favor of the plaintiff, awarding him $6,000,000. The defendants appealed, arguing the trial court abused its discretion in refusing their requested jury instruction. On appeal, the court reversed the verdict and remanded the case for a new trial.

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