Earlier this month, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a Florida car accident case requiring the court to determine whether a residential community could be held liable for an accident victim’s injuries. The court’s opinion largely focused on the question of whether the defendant’s negligence was the proximate cause of the plaintiffs’ injuries. However, the case also serves as a valuable lesson for Florida injury victims.
Proximate Cause in Florida Injury Cases
To establish a claim of liability against a defendant, a plaintiff must be able to show that the defendant’s actions were the proximate cause of their injury. To be sure, proximate cause is a complex legal concept, but boiled down to its essence proximate cause is a question of whether the plaintiff’s injuries were a natural and foreseeable result of the defendant’s actions. In many Florida car accident cases, proximate cause is not contested because the plaintiff’s injuries are the clear result of the defendant’s conduct. However, the case mentioned above presented a unique situation.
The Facts of the Case
According to the court’s recitation of the facts, the plaintiffs were driving through a residential community when they came across a portion of the road where cars were parked on either side of the street. As the plaintiffs approached the bottleneck, they stopped in the middle of the road to allow an oncoming car to pass through the parked cars. However, as the plaintiffs were stopped, another car rear-ended their vehicle.
The plaintiffs filed a personal injury lawsuit against the residential community, claiming that it was negligent in allowing residents and their guests to park on both sides of the street. In support of their claim, the plaintiffs presented evidence showing that the community initially required all residents to park only in their own driveway, but changed the policy after the community began to experience a severe parking shortage. The plaintiffs also presented evidence showing that the city in which the community was located prohibited parking on both sides of the street.
The court rejected the plaintiff’s claim, explaining that any alleged negligence of the residential community was not the proximate cause of the plaintiff’s injuries. Part of the court’s analysis was based on the fact that the community could not have foreseen that another driver would negligently rear-end a vehicle that was waiting for traffic to pass through a narrow section of road. Thus, although the plaintiffs were not able to proceed with a case against the residential community, it is likely that a claim against the driver who struck them would have been more successful.
The case illustrates the importance of naming all potentially liable parties in a Florida car accident lawsuit. In many lawsuits, one defendant will attempt to shift blame onto another party or even the plaintiff. If a named defendant is able to shift the blame onto a party that is not named in the lawsuit, the plaintiff may lose out on the opportunity to recover for their injuries. However, by naming all potentially liable parties, a Florida personal injury plaintiff ensures that if one defendant can shift the blame onto another party, that party will be held accountable.
Have You Been Injured in a Florida Car Accident?
If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a Florida car accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. The legal determination of which parties may be liable for your injuries is a complex one, and you should have the advice of an experienced advocate in your corner when you file your case. At Cecere Santana, we have decades of experience successfully handling all types of Florida injury cases, and we know what it takes to succeed on our clients’ behalves. To learn more, and to schedule your free consultation today, call 800-753-5529.
See Additional Blog Posts:
The Florida Rules of Evidence Play a Major Role in All Personal Injury Accidents, South Florida Injury Attorneys Blog, January 17, 2019.
Florida Bicyclist Accidents Caused by Distracted Drivers, South Florida Injury Attorneys Blog, published December 5, 2018