Can You Still Make a Claim After Signing a Liability Release Waiver?

Recently, a state appellate court issued an opinion in a Florida personal injury case involving an accident that occurred on the Daytona International Speedway. The case required the court to determine whether the plaintiff was prevented from pursuing a claim against the Speedway based on a release of liability waiver she had signed before the accident. Ultimately, the court concluded that although the waiver was valid and enforceable, it did not cover the specific claim made by the plaintiff. The Facts of the Case The court’s recitation of the facts was brief; however, it appeared from the court’s discussion of the facts that the plaintiff was a pit-crew member for one of the racers. Before the plaintiff was allowed onto the racetr...

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The Importance of Naming All Potentially Liable Parties in a Florida Car Accident Case

Earlier this month, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a Florida car accident case requiring the court to determine whether a residential community could be held liable for an accident victim’s injuries. The court’s opinion largely focused on the question of whether the defendant’s negligence was the proximate cause of the plaintiffs’ injuries. However, the case also serves as a valuable lesson for Florida injury victims. Proximate Cause in Florida Injury Cases To establish a claim of liability against a defendant, a plaintiff must be able to show that the defendant’s actions were the proximate cause of their injury. To be sure, proximate cause is a complex legal concept, but boiled down to its ess...

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The Florida Rules of Evidence Play a Major Role in All Personal Injury Accidents

The judge plays an extremely important role in any Florida personal injury case. Among the major duties of the judge during a trial is to make all evidentiary rulings. These may come up in a pre-trial motion in limine or throughout trial when a party attempts to elicit or present certain evidence that the opposing party believes is objectionable and should be excluded. Florida judges are guided in these decisions by the Florida Rules of Evidence, which are quite complex and cover many of the situations that may come up during a trial. Perhaps the most basic rule is stated in Rule 90.402, which explains that “all relevant evidence is admissible, except as provided by law.” Thus, the party attempting to admit evidence must first establish that it is relevant...

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What the Lack of a Dead Man’s Statute Means to Florida Personal Injury Victims

One of the many roles of judges during a Florida personal injury case is to determine what evidence is admitted at trial as well as which evidence the jury will be permitted to consider during its deliberations. To guide a judge’s decision on these critical issues, lawmakers have enacted the Florida Rules of Evidence. One of the unique aspects of Florida evidentiary law is the lack of what is known as a dead man’s statute. About half of the states have a dead man’s statute, which prohibits an interested party from testifying about a conversation they had with someone who has since died. The idea behind the rule is that because the deceased person is not present to refute the representations made by the interested party, it is difficult to ensure these statements a...

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Florida Court Discusses the Prohibition against Stacking Inferences in Recent Car Accident Case

Recently, a state appellate court issued an opinion in a Florida car accident case discussing circumstantial evidence as well as its limits. The case required the court to explain the rule against stacking inferences based on circumstantial evidence. The Facts of the Case According to the court’s opinion, the plaintiff was riding as a passenger in a minivan that was being driven by a family member. The minivan was traveling over the Buckman Bridge when, about a mile onto the bridge, the driver of the minivan had to bring the vehicle to a stop because there was a ladder in the road. Apparently, no one saw how the ladder ended up on the road; however, the plaintiff testified that she saw a motorist who had parked ...

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Preserving Error in Florida Personal Injury Cases

One of a judge’s primary roles in a Florida personal injury case is to decide which evidence the jury is allowed to consider. It is very common for one or more parties in a lawsuit to present evidence that the other party considers objectionable. This may be because the evidence is claimed to be irrelevant, based on hearsay testimony, unreliable, or otherwise excludable under one of the Florida rules of evidence. When a party learns of an opposing party’s intention to present evidence, the court may be asked to rule on the admissibility of evidence by the party against whom the evidence is being introduced. In so doing, the court will hear arguments fr...

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Florida Court Explains a Plaintiff’s Comparative Negligence Is Irrelevant in Recent Intentional Tort Case

Earlier this month, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a Florida personal injury case discussing the doctrine of comparative negligence as it pertains to allegations involving an intentional tort. Ultimately, the court concluded that a court is prohibited from reducing a plaintiff’s damages based on their own negligent actions if the defendant was found liable for an intentional tort. Intentional Torts Versus Claims of Negligence A tort is a wrong act that may result in civil liability. Most torts are the result of the defendant’s negligence; however, tort claims can also be based on a defendant’s intentional act. For example, the claim of fraudulent concealment is an intentional tort. One thing th...

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Florida Bicyclist Accidents Caused by Distracted Drivers

Unfortunately, Florida has a reputation for having some of the worst drivers in the country. Indeed, according to a recent report, there are almost 15 traffic fatalities per 100,000 people in the state. To give this figure some context, roughly 3,200 people lost their lives as a result of Florida traffic accidents in 2016. While these figures represent all types of traffic accidents, the victims of fatal Florida bicycle accidents represent a sizable portion of those killed each year. It is estimated that by year’s end there will have been a total of 130 people killed in Florida bicycle accidents this year alone. Many of these fatalities are caused by drivers who are distracted by some other activity or otherwise not paying attention...

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Arbitration in Cases Against Florida Nursing Homes

Over the past few decades, there has been a drastic increase in the number of dual-income households. While this allows for both spouses to have a fulfilling career, it also frequently prevents adult children from caring for their aging parents, which is a full-time job in itself. Thus, along with the increase in dual-income households has come a corresponding increase in the need for nursing homes to care for older Americans. While most Florida nursing homes are reputable establishments that strive to provide an adequate level of care to all residents, each month there are dozens of reports of Florida nursing home abuse and neglect. In the event of Florida nursing home abuse or neglect, the resident or their loved ones may pursue a claim for compensation against the...

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Florida Court Considers a Case Discussing the Substitution of a Party After the Named Defendant Died

A recent opinion by a Florida appellate court considered whether a case was properly dismissed after the plaintiff substituted the defendant’s estate after the defendant’s death. The plaintiff initially filed a complaint naming a man as the defendant; however, the plaintiff later learned that the man had died. The case deals with how a plaintiff must proceed in the event that they need to substitute a party in a Florida personal injury case. Under Rule 1.260(a)(1), if a defendant dies and the plaintiff’s claim can continue, the defendant may be substituted for an appropriate party. According to the rule, a motion to substitute must be made within 90 days of the suggestion of death on the record in court. Failure to file a motion to substitute within 90 d...

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