Recently a Florida appellate court issued an opinion regarding an accident arising from shoulder injuries a man suffered when he lost control of his bicycle and fell into a drainage ditch. The man filed a personal injury lawsuit against the county alleging that they had actual or constructive knowledge of the unsafe and dangerous ditch, they failed to warn the public of the hazard, and they negligently maintained the ditch.
The plaintiff presented an expert who testified that the shoulder area of the intersection did not have a recovery slope or clear zones for bicyclists to control their bikes safely. Further, during a deposition, the expert stated that the pavement was hazardous because the pavement was deteriorating and cracked. The county moved to dismiss the case, arguing that they were not liable because the plaintiff did not establish causation. They claimed that the plaintiff could not remember how the accident occurred or how he fell into the ditch.
Florida law provides that the party moving for summary judgment must demonstrate that the case presents no genuine issues of material fact, and that they are entitled to judgment as a matter of law. In the context of personal injury cases, the inquiry is not whether the plaintiff has evidence or personal knowledge of facts establishing the at-fault party’s negligence. Further, defendants moving for summary judgment do not meet their burden just by pointing to the plaintiff’s inability to prove exactly what caused their damages. Instead, it is the trier of fact’s job to answer questions regarding causation.
In this case, the plaintiff testified that just before the accident, he encountered a car and stayed on the shoulder because he was unsure of what the car was going to do. His memory of the events stops right before being struck, and he only recalls trying to stay on the shoulder and going around the corner. The appellate court concluded that the county is not entitled to summary judgment because there are questions surrounding causation that are unresolved. Further, summary judgment requires that all inferences should be resolved against the defendant, and in doing so, the facts establish that the plaintiff met his burden. The court remanded the case to a jury to weigh the evidence and determine the causation issue in light of the appellate court’s opinion.
Have You Been Injured after a Florida Car Accident?
If you or someone you know has suffered serious injuries in a Florida car, bike, or motorcycle accident, you should contact the attorneys at the Law Offices of Robert Dixon. The Miami personal injury attorneys at our law firm have successfully represented motorists, passengers, cyclists, and pedestrians in their claims for damages. Additionally, we have extensive experience handling claims against insurance companies that stem from accidents. Every Florida car accident is different, and we take a personalized approach to each case, ensuring that our clients receive the individualized attention they deserve. Accidents victims and their family members have recovered damages for property damage, medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Contact our office at 877-499-4878 today to schedule a free initial consultation with an attorney on our Florida legal team.