Our Cape Coral car accident lawyers understand there were several underlying problems with the case, most notably: Discrepancies in the plaintiff’s testimony regarding the source of his injuries and failure to preserve at least one important issue for appeal.
Anytime one suffers injury as a result of a car accident, it’s imperative for injured parties to speak as soon as possible with an experienced injury lawyer to protect their rights.
This case also serves as an important reminder for attorneys that they still must actively object to admission of harmful evidence, even when motions in limine have been filed prior to the start of trial. An amendment to the 2003 rules on such motions have led some attorneys to the conclusion they need not object during the trial. However, such action is necessary to preserve the issues on appeal.
According to the court records, the crash occurred in early 2008, when the plaintiff was a passenger in a truck driven by his co-worker. Another truck, owned and driven by the defendants, was behind them. Both were stopped at a red light and proceeded when the light turned green. However, another vehicle stopped suddenly in front of the plaintiff’s work truck, causing the driver to stop abruptly. The second truck driver says he never saw the brake lights of the vehicle in front of him, which were covered in mud. When he noted the other truck had come to a complete stop, he didn’t have enough time to avoid a crash.
The plaintiff would later testify he was tossed forward and struck his head on the dashboard. He complained of pain at the scene, and told a responding paramedic he had suffered injury from a crash seven years earlier.
He was transported to a nearby emergency room, where he told a doctor he had never experienced prior back or neck problems.
He subsequently went to a chiropractor for several months, and then underwent surgery for his condition. He told that doctor he had never had prior neck or back problems, but when the doctor confronted him with evidence to the contrary, the plaintiff insisted he hadn’t been in pain for some two years prior to the recent crash.
He then received additional treatment from a neurosurgeon, and here again, did not reveal his prior accident. When the doctor learned of the other crash, the plaintiff indicated he made a full recovery from those injuries years earlier.
In fact, he had endured injuries from two crashes in 2001, and continued to take pain medication up until the time of the crash.
A doctor who performed a compulsory medical exam on behalf of the defense asserted he would have used a more conservative measure of treatment than surgery. This was despite a motion in limine granted prior to the trial indicating doctors could not testify the surgeries the plaintiff received were unnecessary.
However, the plaintiff’s attorney never objected to this testimony at trial, meaning it was not preserved for argument upon appeal.
A dissenting justice on the panel argued it was clear the defendant’s expert witness had violated the order set forth in the motion in limine, after the defense counsel asked a question that was contrary to the order.
The plaintiff alternately argued he should be granted a new trial on the grounds the verdict wasn’t fair in light of the evidence. However, the court determined the plaintiff’s own expert witnesses were discredited by defendant’s lack of credibility, because their statements were in part based on his assertion that he suffered no back pain the years prior to the crash. His continuing use of pain medication, however, served as proof otherwise.
If you have been a victim of a traffic accident, call Chalik & Chalik at (954) 476-1000 or 1 (800) 873-9040.
Esquire v. A&G Concrete Pools, Inc., July 2, 2014, Florida’s Fourth District Court of Appeal
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Florida’s Hit-and-Run reform Awaits Gov. Scott’s Signature, June 26, 2014, Cape Coral Car Accident Lawyer Blog