In the recent case of Bolding v. Kindel Concrete, LLC, there was no question plaintiff had been hit by a truck driven negligently by a concrete firm. She eventually settled the case against the driver. However, her claim against the driver’s employer failed because the Wyoming Supreme Court found she had not adequately proven causation and future medical damages.
Although this is an out-of-state case, the same general principles are applicable to truck accident victims in Florida. It’s not enough to show the accident occurred and evidence of injuries. There must be significant evidence that one is related to the other.
Additionally, the burden of proof regarding damages is also on the back of the plaintiff. It’s not enough to simply assert a given figure. For example, to assert damages for medical expenses, one must provide concrete evidence of necessary medical treatments, bills, physician testimony regarding future treatment and therapies and cost estimates for each.
Our Broward County car accident attorneys understand that in this case, failings by plaintiff’s attorney reportedly occurred at several turns. At one point, the trial court had to remind the lawyer it could not help him in presenting his case. He failed to provide evidence proving that the trucking company held 50 percent comparative fault, as alleged, and did not submit evidence to support the assertion that future therapies or treatment were medically necessarily, let alone indicate how much they would cost.
This is a good example of why it’s so important to choose your injury lawyer carefully. While no attorney can promise a positive outcome, you need to know you attorney is familiar with personal injury case law, knows the judges and has trial experience.
In this case, plaintiff was rear-ended in 2002 by a driver operating a concrete truck owned by defendant. Two years later, plaintiff filed a personal injury lawsuit against the driver for negligence and the truck owner for negligent entrustment. The at-fault commercial driver reportedly had a poor driving record, and the company hired him anyway.
This should have been the grounds for a strong personal injury case.
Here, defendant company failed to enter a timely response to the original complaint, and a default hearing was ordered. At the hearing, plaintiff testified on her own behalf and a total of five exhibits were submitted.
The testimony she provided included details of the crash and her injuries. She requested $339,000 in damages, with 50 percent of that payable by defendant. However, the district court would later note she presented no evidence the company knew or should have know about the driver’s prior record, thus establishing a necessary foundation for a charge of negligent entrustment. She also presented no evidence of alleged comparative fault, or how she reached the 50 percent figure. The amount of damages she requested was reportedly based on her weekly calculation for physical therapy damages, but she did not present any evidence from a physician that she needed weekly therapy for the rest of her life. (Even her own therapist testified she probably only needed to visit once every other week, and there was no testimony as to how long this would need to go on.) She did not present any evidence regarding life expectancy. While she also requested nearly $70,000 from defendant for loss of enjoyment and pain and suffering, she presented no evidence that would support that request.
As to why this information was not provided, the trial court said, “It remains a mystery.”
Either way, she failed to meet the proof burden, and the state supreme court affirmed this finding.
This case is a stark reminder that the courtroom is an unforgiving atmosphere, and you will need a articulate, knowledgeable advocate on your side.
Call Freeman Injury Law — 1-800-561-7777 for a free appointment to discuss your rights.
Bolding v. Kindel Concrete, LLC, Oct. 27, 2014, Wyoming Supreme Court
More Blog Entries:
Antico v. Sindt Trucking – Evidence of Distraction Sought in Florida Trucking Crash Case, Oct. 30, 2014, Broward County Car Accident Lawyer