May 25, 2017
Our firm recently obtained an affirmance of a final judgment rendered in favor of an injured plaintiff following a favorable verdict.
The plaintiff suffered injuries in two separate car accidents as a result of the negligence of other drivers. The plaintiff sought damages from his uninsured motorist automobile insurance carrier for damages arising out of the two separate accidents. The case proceeded to a five-day jury trial that resulted in a sizeable jury verdict in the Plaintiff’s favor for each car crash. The trial court rendered a final judgment on the verdict after the trial. The insurer appealed the judgment to Florida’s Fourth District Court of Appeal (“Fourth DCA”). We represented the Plaintiff in the appeal.
The insurer argued on appeal that the trial court abused its discretion in allowing certain testimony from the Plaintiff’s biomechanics expert. The insurer claimed that the expert testified outside of his area of expertise regarding areas of causation and extent of injury. The insurer also asserted that the trial court abused its discretion in allowing the Plaintiff to use a certain video as a demonstrative aid to assist the jury in understanding the expert’s testimony. The insurer argued that the test crash shown in the video involved vehicles completely dissimilar from the ones in the accidents and was not a valid basis for the expert’s opinion; and the prejudice from the video outweighed any probative value it may have had in supporting the expert’s opinion.
We maintained that the biomechanical expert testified appropriately within the scope of his expertise regarding the Plaintiff’s accidents as to general causation of the type of injury, probability of injury, and the biomechanical forces at work. We distinguished the cases upon which the insurer relied, where the expert testimony pertained to medical causation or extent of injury. We also argued that any potential error was harmless in light of the testimony of the Plaintiff’s other expert witnesses.
As to the video, we argued that the trial court was within its discretion to allow the video because a test such as the one in the video need not be identical to the circumstances of the accident to be used as a demonstrative aid. We also argued that any error was harmless where the video was only a demonstrative aid, the expert did not base his entire opinion on the video, and the Defendant’s expert used analogies during his testimony that were not identical to the Plaintiff’s accident.
The Fourth DCA upheld the Final Judgment in a per curiam affirmance. The appellate court also unconditionally granted our client’s request for entitlement to appellate attorney’s fees. This favorable result preserved the verdict and judgment in favor of our client and will allow him to seek an award of his appellate attorney’s fees from the trial court.
* The decision is not final until disposition of any timely filed post-decision motions.