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Articles Tagged with naples-car-accident-injury

The Arkansas Supreme Court, in a divided opinion, ruled that a provision of law that prohibits the so-called “seat belt defense” in car accident lawsuits is unconstitutional.

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In Mendoza v. WIS Int’l, Inc., justices were tasked with answering whether Arkansas Code Annotated section 27-37-703, which states the failure of a vehicle occupant to wear a properly adjusted and fastened seat belt should not be admissible as evidence in a civil action, violated the separation of powers doctrine of the state constitution. Answer: Yes.

This is bad news for injured car accident plaintiffs in Arkansas. Essentially what it means is if you do not wear a seat belt, you could be found comparatively at-fault, which could reduce or eliminate your rightful claim to damages. Arkansas follows a model of modified comparative fault with a 50 percent bar, which means if a plaintiff is more than half at-fault for his her own injuries (or the extent of his or her own injuries), plaintiff can’t collect any damages at all. In Florida, however, plaintiffs can be up to 99 percent liable for their own injuries and still collect on that remaining 1 percent fault held by defendant (this is known as the pure comparative fault model).  Continue reading

Courts recognize that trials are costly affairs. It’s part of the reason so many cases are settled before reaching the trial phase. It’s also in the civil system why there is an established procedure – both at the state and federal level – for both parties to respond to a “request for admissions.” trafficlight1

The idea is if both sides agree to certain facts, court costs and time can be significantly reduced because then both sides don’t have to make an effort to prove or disprove undisputed facts.

Of course, one must be careful in submitting or responding to requests for admissions because they can have a substantial impact on the case. For example, a request for admissions in a car accident might have the plaintiff asking the defendant to concede liability. If he or she admits they were liable for the accident, the court could grant a summary judgment on that point, which means the only issues that would need to be litigated are causation and damages. In other words, the defendant admits he caused the crash, but denies that the crash caused plaintiffs injuries or that the injuries suffered are as severe as plaintiff asserts. Neither side needs to focus on proving or defending liability – it’s already been established.

In 2003, two young men in their 20s died in a collision with a drunk driver. However, when it came to determining liability, the courts struggled with the implications of the facts in  O’Connell v. Walmsely. Primarily, it has to do with comparative fault, or the degree to which the injured party contributed to those injuries (or in this case, death). SONY DSC

Naples car accident lawyers know that both Florida and Rhode Island, where the O’Connell case was heard, follow the pure comparative fault model, in which a plaintiff’s fault won’t bar recovery of damages, but may reduce the total amount recouped.

According to Rhode Island Supreme Court records, this case was brought by the parents of a deceased passenger against the driver of another vehicle that had struck in the opposite direction. Originally, the parents named numerous other parties as defendants, including the owner of the vehicle in which their son was a passenger (the father of the deceased man who was driving), as well as the father’s insurer. The other claims were settled prior to trial, but the one against the other driver continued to trial.

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