Florida Court Discusses Summary Judgment in Car Accident Cases

Summary judgment is a tool often used in civil lawsuits, which disposes of claims prior to trial. Either party can file a motion for summary judgment, and the burden is the same regardless of who files. Specifically, the moving party must show that no factual dispute exists, and therefore, the court should grant judgment in their favor as a matter of law. While, in theory, summary judgment may be granted in any matter, it is rarely appropriate in car accident cases, as demonstrated in a recent Florida ruling. If you suffered harm in a collision, you might be owed damages, and it is advisable to speak to a Florida car accident attorney regarding your potential claims.

Facts of the Case

It is alleged that the plaintiff was involved in a collision with a vehicle owned by the defendant, the United States Government. The parties disputed how the accident occurred; the plaintiff argued that it was caused by the defendant’s driver making a sudden U-turn in front of her, causing her to strike the rear of the vehicle, while the defendant argued its vehicle was parked along the side of the road when it was struck by the plaintiff. The defendant moved for summary judgment, asking the court to dismiss the plaintiff’s claims.

Grounds for Granting Summary Judgment

The court ultimately denied the defendant’s motion. It explained that summary judgment would be granted if the pleadings, discovery materials, and evidence on record demonstrate that there is no material factual dispute, and therefore the moving party is entitled to judgment in its favor as a matter of law.

A factual issue will be deemed material if it may impact the outcome of the case under the applicable law. Similarly, a dispute will be considered genuine if the evidence could lead a reasonable fact finder to find in favor of the non-moving party. The party seeking summary judgment bears the burden of establishing that no genuine factual dispute exists, and the court will draw all factual inferences in favor of the non-moving party. If any factual issues exist, the court must deny summary judgment, and the case must proceed to trial.

In the subject case, the court found that the plaintiff offered adequate evidence for a rational factfinder to determine that her version of how the accident occurred was accurate. As such, the court found that a material factual dispute existed and summary judgment must be denied.

Meet with an Experienced Florida Attorney to Discuss Your Accident

Disputes regarding causation and damages in car accident cases are typically fact-specific, and in most instances, summary judgment is not appropriate. If you were injured in a car accident brought about by another party’s negligence, you have the right to seek compensation, and you should speak to an attorney as soon as possible. The experienced Florida car accident lawyers of Lusk, Drasites & Tolisano, P.A. can advise you of your rights and aid you in seeking a favorable outcome. You can contact us through our form online or by calling 800-283-7442 to set up a confidential consultation.

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