In many accident cases, the defendant will try to avoid liability by arguing that the plaintiff caused the incident that led to their harm. Subsequently, the defendant will typically try to introduce evidence at trial that supports its position. A defendant may be barred from offering evidence that is highly prejudicial, though, even if the court deems it relevant. This was demonstrated in a recent ruling issued in a Florida motorcycle accident case, in which the court precluded the defendant from discussing a wheelie the decedent reportedly performed prior to a collision. If you were hurt in a motorcycle crash, it is advisable to speak to a seasoned Florida motorcycle accident attorney to assess what evidence you must produce to recover compensation.
History of the Case
It is reported that the decedent was riding a motorcycle when he was struck by a vehicle driven by the defendant. The decedent suffered fatal injuries in the crash, and the plaintiff, the representative of the decedent’s estate, subsequently filed a personal injury lawsuit against the defendant, alleging her negligence caused the collision. The parties exchanged discovery, during which an eyewitness testified that she saw the decedent perform a wheelie before the accident.
Allegedly, however, she did not see the accident. Prior to trial, the plaintiff filed a motion in limine asking the court to preclude the defendant from offering evidence and argument related to the wheelie on the grounds that there was no evidence the decedent was performing a wheelie at the time of the collision. The defendant opposed the motion.
Factors Considered in Determining the Admissibility of Evidence
Under Florida law, evidence is relevant if it tends to make a fact more or less probable than it would be without the evidence, and the fact is material in determining the action. Evidence that is not relevant, however, is not admissible. Further, a court may exclude relevant evidence if it finds that the risk of undue prejudice, confusion of the issues, or misleading the jury outweighs the probative value of the evidence.
The court explained that precluding relevant evidence is an extraordinary remedy that should be used sparingly, and the balance should weigh in favor of admissibility. In the subject case, the parties agreed that only one witness testified that she saw the decedent perform a wheelie, and she did not see the actual collision but arrived on the scene after the crash. Further, an accident reconstructionist opined that even if the decedent performed a wheelie, he was not in that position at the time of the crash. Based on the foregoing, the court found that the risk of prejudice outweighed the probative value of the evidence regarding the wheelie and granted the plaintiff’s motion.
Consult a Seasoned Florida Attorney
Motorcycle accidents often cause critical injuries, and in many instances, they are caused by reckless drivers. If you were hurt in a motorcycle collision, it is in your best interest to consult an attorney as soon as possible. The seasoned Florida motorcycle accident attorneys of Lusk, Drasites & Tolisano, P.A. are well-versed in what it takes to achieve favorable outcomes in personal injury cases, and if you hire us, we will gather the evidence needed to provide you with a strong chance of a just result. You can reach us via our form online or at 800-283-7442 to set up a meeting.