Florida Appeals Court Hears Car Accident Case

Generally, when one car rear ends another car, the driver of the car that does the rear-ending is at fault for the accident. However, that is not always the case. In this appeal, the parties disputed whether the rear ending occurred while the injured passenger’s car had been stopped for a time, or whether the injured passenger’s car had just completed an unsafe lane change. If you are in a car accident, you should contact a skilled South Florida car accident attorney as soon as possible. They can help you to gather all available evidence to help you present your case in the most persuasive light.

The Facts of the Car Accident

On a rainy day while stopped at an intersection, one car rear-ended another car. A passenger in the car that was rear-ended claimed that the accident caused her a significant back injury. The injured woman claimed the other driver was negligent, which caused the accident and her injuries. The other driver disputed this account and said that the driver of the injured woman’s car quickly changed lanes right before the accident occurred. They also argued that her back injuries were not caused by this accident, but instead were the result of previous accidents, injuries, and congenital conditions.

In order to be awarded damages, the injured woman has to prove that the other driver was negligent and that the negligence was the cause of the accident and her injuries. Here, negligence is a legal term that means someone was not acting reasonably, considering all the circumstances. Drivers have a duty to the other drivers on the road to behave in a reasonably safe manner. In this case, the parties were disputing which one was responsible for the accident. However, even if the driver that rear-ended the other car was negligent, the injured woman would also have to prove that it was the accident that caused her injuries in order to recover.

Standard for New Trial

In the initial trial, the jury was asked whether the negligence of the defendant was the legal cause of the injury or damage to the injured plaintiff. The jury said “no.” It is unclear whether they believed that the injury was caused by past trauma, or whether the accident itself was not due to the negligence of the defendant, or a mix of both. After the verdict, the plaintiff appealed.

The injured woman claimed that the evidence overwhelmingly supported her claims. The court granted a new trial on the basis of witness testimony. The court stated that the testimony of one of the witnesses at trial was at odds with the defendant’s characterization of the same witnesses testimony. Thus, they granted a new trial on this basis.

However, on the instant appeal heard by the Florida Second District Court of Appeal, the court held that a new trial should not be granted. The relevant standard is whether the verdict was against the “manifest weight of the evidence.” The court held that there was sufficient evidence to uphold the jury’s dismissal of the case and thus the driver of the rear ending car was not liable for any damages.

Contact an Experienced South Florida Car Accident Attorney Today

As this case shows, it is important to retain a knowledgeable South Florida car accident attorney, not only to help you make your case initially, but also to represent you throughout the appeals process. The experienced Florida car accident attorneys at Donaldson & Weston can help you throughout the legal process. Call them at 772-266-555 or 561-299-3999 or use the contact form on this website to schedule your free, confidential consultation today!

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