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Articles Tagged with Florida car accident lawyers

Last year, this blog discussed the unfortunate death of two Brevard County teens Rachel Price and Jamaree Cook, who were killed when Price’s vehicle collided with a pickup truck being operated an intoxicated driver. In response to that incident, our Florida car accident attorneys examined a State law allowing a person that has been injured or killed in a car accident caused by an intoxicated driver to recover punitive as well as compensatory damages.

That law, codified at Section 768.72 of The Florida Statutes, states that plaintiffs in civil actions are precluded from recovering punitive damages unless there is a “reasonable showing by evidence” that provides a “reasonable basis for recovery of such damages.” This standard is more specifically delineated in Florida’s pattern jury instructions which state that punitive damages may be warranted if a jury finds by the greater weight of the evidence that the defendant’s conduct that caused the injury to the plaintiff was:

  1. Gross and flagrant as to show a reckless disregard of human life or of the safety of persons;

Last month, the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida issued a decision in the case of Worley v. State Farm that addressed two incredibly important legal concepts in car accident cases. The first of these two concepts was the presumption of negligence that applies in rear end car collisions, and the second is the principle of comparative negligence. Our Miami car accident attorneys are following the effects closely.

In Worley, the plaintiff was injured in a 2010 car accident when a vehicle driven by the uninsured defendant rear ended her.  The plaintiff claimed that she was stopped at a yield sign when the other driver struck her. The defendant testified, however, that the plaintiff had begun to drive through the intersection when she suddenly stopped, thereby causing the collision.

The plaintiff’s auto insurance provider, State Farm, declined her coverage after determining that the plaintiff was at least partly responsible for the accident.  The plaintiff sued in federal district court and moved for summary judgment, arguing that, under Florida law, she was entitled to a presumption that the defendant driver was negligent in rear-ending her. Florida has adopted a rebuttable presumption that a rear driver’s actions are the sole proximate cause of an accident and any resulting injuries.

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