Fourth trial yields victory for Miami plaintiff

At a fourth personal injury trial, a woman who racked up almost a million dollars’ worth of medical bills after a Miami auto accident finally claimed victory earlier this month.

The case hinged on the amount of contributory damage the plaintiff was alleged to have caused in the accident. At her first trial, the jury determined that plaintiff was 60 percent liable for the incidents she suffered in a three-car accident that occurred nearly seven years ago.

The woman was left with a fused ankle and one leg shorter than the other by two inches. Although doctors initially considered amputation, they were able to save her leg, but in order to walk, she must wear a custom shoe and use a cane.

The accident occurred in North Miami where Northeast 135th Street and Biscayne Boulevard intersect. Plaintiff and another driver claimed to have the green light, as did the defendant in the case.

Initially, the defendant’s insurer had declined to pay out the limits of her $10,000 policy.

The first trial was held in March 2012, and plaintiff was awarded approximately $67,000 when jurors attributed 60 percent of fault for the accident to her. The other drivers were found to be 30 percent and 10 percent at fault.

After the first trial, plaintiff appealed, on the grounds that the judge prejudiced jurors by allowing defendant’s attorney to say that another defendant had been involved in the case. The Third District Court of Appeal sided with plaintiff, agreeing that jurors could reasonably deduce that a defendant had already settled with the plaintiff.

Two mistrials followed. At the fourth and final trial, the jury assigned plaintiff only 12 percent liability for the collision. Plaintiff’s and defendant’s attorneys used accident reconstructionists, and one expert testified that no matter the color of the light, defendant was inattentive and unable to brake in time.

Cases like this illustrate that injured parties sometimes have to really fight for justice in cases where the initial outcome is unfavorable.

Source: Daily Business Review, “Fourth Trial Produces Award for Woman Injured in Car Crash,” Carla Vianna, Feb. 24, 2016