Although vehicle occupants injured in trucking accidents have the right to pursue a lawsuit in Florida without legal representation, the decision to do so will virtually guarantee disastrous results. Commercial carriers and their insurance companies expect that truck drivers will be involved in accidents, so trucking companies anticipate litigation. Commercial carriers have rapid response investigation teams, a network of accident reconstruction experts, and extensive litigation resources all focused on denying or limiting the recovery for the injuries and fatalities caused by careless truck drivers and unsafe tractor-trailers.
Along with these reasons for not attempting to handle a trucking accident claim without an experienced Miami trucking accident lawyer, unrepresented plaintiffs also must navigate the rules of civil procedure, local court rules, evidentiary rules, and many other technical and procedural “rules of the game.” If you do not understand these procedural requirements, you are like a participant in a highly complex game without knowing how the game is played. In this blog post, our Miami tractor-trailer injury attorneys review a recent case that demonstrates the folly of trying to proceed without legal representation in complex trucking litigation.
In Boyles v. Dillards, Inc., the plaintiff suffered serious injuries when his vehicle was struck by a Dillard’s delivery van truck. The parties agreed at trial that both vehicles were moving in the same direction in the same lane immediately before the collision. The Dillards employee was following behind the plaintiff’s vehicle when the delivery truck hit the rear corner on the right side of the plaintiff’s vehicle. The plaintiff contended she did not depart from the lane but was hit when she turned right into the driveway of her home. The truck driver disputed this version of the incident and claimed the plaintiff departed from the lane into a gore area on the left of the lane in which the vehicles had been traveling. According to the truck driver, the plaintiff suddenly veered her car back into the lane the vehicles had shared. The driver of the delivery vehicle testified that he had no time to avoid slamming into the plaintiff’s vehicle. The jury returned a verdict that the driver of the delivery truck van was not negligent.
The plaintiff appealed the defense verdict based on a range of illegal and unfair tactics by the defendants and their lawyers. The plaintiff contended that the defense’s closing argument referenced statements that the plaintiff made during his deposition which were not admitted at trial. The plaintiff requested the court declare a mistrial because the comments referred to suggested the plaintiff was dishonest. While the jury returned a defense verdict after the judge allowed the improper comments to be referenced, the appellate court reversed this decision based on a finding that the trial judge abused his discretion by permitting the improper comments.
Improper comments or evidence that should not be admitted can sway a jury on the issue of negligence or damages. A seasoned Miami trucking accident lawyer can identify improper tactics, objectionable evidence, and other attempts by the defense in trucking accident lawsuits to skirt the rules of the game. Further, your right to appeal such inappropriate actions by the defense will often depend on “making the record” in the trial court to preserve the issue for appeal.
Greenberg, Stone, & Urbano: Seeking Maximum Recovery for Serious Injury and Wrongful Death Victims and Families
When you play a card game with a “cheater,” you might not be able to identify the improper tactics if you do not even understand the rules of the game. Our Miami semi-truck accident lawyers possess a thorough understanding of the complex procedural and evidentiary rules that govern civil litigation, so you should speak to one of our proven Miami trucking accident attorney. Our Miami personal injury lawyers at Greenberg, Stone & Urbano offer the assistance you need to pursue the results you desire. For over 130 collective years, our firm has assisted accident victims in personal injury and wrongful death actions across South Florida. We seek to obtain compensation for your tangible and intangible damages, including medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. Our skill and dedication have earned us an AV rating from Martindale-Hubbell and recognition as one of South Florida’s top firms by the Miami Herald. Call us at (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400 or visit our website to schedule your initial consultation.