In Boyles v. Dillard’s, Inc., the plaintiff was involved in an automobile accident with a Dillard’s delivery van. The defendant, a Dillard’s employee, was driving directly behind the plaintiff in the same lane of a two-lane highway and collided with the back of the plaintiff’s car as she was making a right turn into her driveway. The plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the defendant for injuries that she allegedly sustained to her shoulder, neck, and back.
At trial, the defendant claimed that the plaintiff veered from the lane in which she was driving to merge into an area on the left of the lane in which both the vehicles were traveling. The defendant went on to explain that the plaintiff then suddenly moved her vehicle back into the lane in which they were both driving, so he (the defendant) did not have enough time to avoid crashing into her car.
The defendant presented an expert witness to help reconstruct the scene of the accident for the jury. The plaintiff argued that it was a mistake to allow the expert witness’ testimony because the only relevance it could have was to imply that the plaintiff could not have suffered the degree of the injury she claimed, and the expert witness was not qualified to present testimony that would lead to such a determination.
The appellate court rejected the plaintiff’s argument. The court explained that while a biomechanics expert is not permitted to provide a medical opinion about the severity of the injury, it is inside an expert’s scope to state his or her belief about whether the mechanism of the injury was caused by the accident. As a result, the expert witness’ testimony was within the appropriate limits and admissible.
However, in closing arguments, the defense counsel referred to comments made in the plaintiff’s deposition, which had not been submitted into evidence at trial. In referencing the deposition, the defense attorney tried to cast doubt on the plaintiff’s testimony regarding her behavior immediately preceding the accident. At trial, the plaintiff had said that she tapped her brakes to take her car off cruise control just prior to turning into her driveway. The defense counsel told the jury that this was a fact never mentioned in the plaintiff’s deposition. The plaintiff argued that this was a ground for a mistrial. The trial court disagreed. The Court of Appeals, however, ruled that the trial court had abused its discretion and remanded the proceeding for a new trial.
If you or someone you know has been injured by a delivery van or truck, it is important to seek the help of a qualified Miami truck accident attorney who can assess the merits of your case. At the Law Offices of Robert Dixon, we believe in holding negligent parties accountable for the harm that they cause. You can rest assured that we will make every effort to get you the compensation you deserve for your harm. We proudly represent clients from throughout South Florida. To learn more about your legal rights and options, call us at 1-877-499-HURT (4878) or contact us online today.
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