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Preserving Error in Florida Personal Injury Cases

One of a judge’s primary roles in a Florida personal injury case is to decide which evidence the jury is allowed to consider. It is very common for one or more parties in a lawsuit to present evidence that the other party considers objectionable. This may be because the evidence is claimed to be irrelevant, based on hearsay testimony, unreliable, or otherwise excludable under one of the Florida rules of evidence.

When a party learns of an opposing party’s intention to present evidence, the court may be asked to rule on the admissibility of evidence by the party against whom the evidence is being introduced. In so doing, the court will hear arguments from the parties and ultimately decide whether the evidence should be presented to the jury.

Thus, while the judge in a Florida personal injury case may not have the ultimate discretion to decide whether the defendant was liable for the plaintiff’s injuries, she certainly has an important role to play in the process. Of course, judges are human and can make mistakes. When a party feels as though a judge has made a legal error regarding the admissibility of evidence, that party can file an appeal, assuming the alleged error was properly preserved at trial.

Appellate courts have the power to hear certain cases that come under their jurisdiction. However, an appellate court cannot hear just any issue. The party seeking review of a lower court’s decision must be able to establish that the issue is properly before the court. In order to properly preserve a claim of error at trial, the party must object to the introduction of the evidence. In addition, depending on the issue seeking to be preserved, the party may need to take further action by either moving for a mistrial or filing a post-trial motion.

If a party fails to properly preserve an issue for appellate review, the appellate court will likely consider the issue waived by the party who failed to preserve it. There is an exception for certain “fundamental errors” that affect a party’s “substantial rights”; however, this is a difficult bar to meet, and parties are better off taking preventative measures to preserve all claims of error at trial.

Do You Need to Talk to an Attorney?

If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a Florida personal injury accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation for the injuries you have sustained. At the law firm of Cecere Santana, we represent Florida accident victims in all types of personal injury claims, including Florida car accidents and slip-and-fall accidents. We have decades of combined experience assisting our clients and their families to ensure they obtain the compensation they deserve. We look forward to meeting with you to discuss your situation. To learn more, call 800-753-5529 to schedule your free consultation today.

See Additional Blog Posts:

Florida Court Explains a Plaintiff’s Comparative Negligence Is Irrelevant in Recent Intentional Tort Case, South Florida Injury Attorneys Blog, December 13, 2018.

Florida Bicyclist Accidents Caused by Distracted Drivers, South Florida Injury Attorneys Blog, published December 5, 2018

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