Florida personal injury plaintiffs must prove their case at trial beyond a reasonable doubt. In order to do so, the plaintiff must show proof of at least four elements.
- Did the defendant owe the plaintiff a duty of care?
- Was that duty violated by the defendant’s conduct?
- Was the defendant’s conduct what caused the harm to the plaintiff?
- Can the plaintiff prove some kind of injury?
If a Florida accident victim cannot prove all four elements, then the defendant will most likely not be found liable in that particular case.
In a recent Florida case, a Florida court of appeals affirmed the jury’s verdict denying the plaintiff’s recovery because the jury determined that the defendant’s conduct was not the cause of the plaintiff’s harms, although the defendant admitted to being negligent and causing the accident.
In the case Hernandez v. Gonzalez, the facts were as follows: Hernandez and Feliz were involved in an accident when Gonzalez rear-ended their car. They claimed the accident was caused by Gonzalez. Several months after the accident, Hernandez and Feliz sought medical treatment for the injuries they claimed they sustained in the accident.
The two sued Gonzalez for damages, based on a theory of negligence. At trial, Gonzalez admitted that the accident was his fault, however, he also presented evidence to show that the plaintiffs’ medical conditions were not caused by the accident.
The Defendant’s Evidence
Gonzalez did not contest negligence, but did argue that his negligence did not cause the damages the plaintiffs complained of. First, Gonzalez presented evidence that Hernandez had pre-existing medical conditions that were the cause of her admission into the hospital, rather than any injury from the accident. Gonzalez also offered evidence that Feliz was not injured at all, and that she was laughing and giggling while she was at the hospital.
The jury found Gonzalez’s evidence persuasive, and found that he was negligent, but that he did not cause any harm to the plaintiffs. They awarded the plaintiffs nothing.
Results such as this are a Florida personal injury plaintiff’s worst nightmare. After going through the trouble of trial, to end up with nothing is dissatisfying to say the least.
Are You In Need of a Skilled Personal Injury Attorney?
If you have been the victim of a Florida personal injury accident, and believe that it was due to the fault of the other driver, you should speak with an experienced Florida car accident attorney as soon as possible. Not all legal representation is the same. Having a skilled lawyer on your side may mean the difference between a substantial recovery or a lot of wasted time, effort, and emotion. To find out more about the Florida laws that enable accident victims to recover for their injuries, click here, or call 866-597-0006 today to schedule a free initial consultation.