In most South Florida pedestrian accident cases, whether a defendant’s negligence caused a plaintiff’s harm is an issue to be decided by the jury. As such, courts will typically leave a jury’s verdict undisturbed, unless a reversal is clearly warranted. A Florida appellate court recently addressed whether a reversal of a verdict was warranted in a case where the jury was unjustly swayed by inappropriate comments made by the defendant’s attorney, ultimately finding that a reversal was appropriate. If you were a pedestrian injured in a South Florida car accident you should meet with a capable South Florida personal injury attorney promptly to explore your options for pursuing damages.
Allegedly, the plaintiff was walking across a three-lane highway in Monroe County, when she was struck by the defendant’s vehicle. The impact of the defendant’s vehicle launched the plaintiff into the path of a second vehicle, which also struck the plaintiff. A police officer investigating the accident found the defendant at fault and cited the defendant for failing to exercise due care to avoid a collision with a pedestrian. The defendant entered a plea of nolo contendere and was found guilty. The plaintiff subsequently filed a personal injury lawsuit against the defendant.
Reportedly, prior to the trial the defendant sought and was granted motions in limine precluding any evidence of his traffic citation and the contents of the police report from being introduced at trial. During his closing argument, the defendant’s attorney advised the jury that the investigating officer had not formulated an opinion about fault in the accident or come to a conclusion as to whether the defendant was negligent. The plaintiff’s attorney made timely objections to the defendant’s attorneys’ statements, which the court overruled. The jury ultimately issued a verdict in favor of the defendant. The plaintiff subsequently filed a motion for a new trial.