Brown v. Lunskis, 2D12-957, 2013 WL 4005517 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. Aug. 7, 2013)

This auto accident case involved a relatively small impact collision that occurred in a residential neighborhood.

In January of 2009, the defendant to the lawsuit, Brittany Brown, was operating a motor vehicle owned by her father. At some point, while driving through a residential area, when she attempted a left-hand turn, directly in front of the plaintiff in this case. The collision occurred in the middle of a four-way intersection, at was said to have happened in front of a school bus. Testimony at trial indicted that Ms. Brown almost cleared the turn, but impacted the plaintiff’s vehicle. There was limited damage to both vehicles involved in this accident.

Both Ms. Brown and the plaintiff exchanged information at the scene and were able to drive away in their prospective cars. At the time of this collision, neither the plaintiff nor the defendant felt the need to contact emergency services or the police. The property damage to the plaintiff’s vehicle was less than seventeen hundred dollars.

The day after the auto accident, the plaintiff began to feel “achy”, as provided in his testimony at trial. He did not seek medical attention until a week later when he visited his physician for unrelated health issues. At that time, the plaintiff’s doctor explained to him that she did not treat victims involved in auto accidents, but provided him with referrals to seek assistance for his complaints. The plaintiff was under a physician’s care at the time of the accident for issues related to diabetes and high blood pressure.

Nearly ten days after the collision with the defendant, the plaintiff sought treatment from another doctor for his alleged injuries. The plaintiff treated with his doctor for almost six months with regards to his knee, back and neck. It was stated at trial that the treatment that the plaintiff received was mostly physical therapy and medications for pain. At some time after the months of treatment, the plaintiff began to experience an increase of pain in his knee, and was referred to an orthopedic specialist.

The orthopedic doctor diagnosed the plaintiff a tear in his meniscus, and recommended him for surgery. The doctor stated at trial that he believed that the injury was caused by the auto accident with the defendant. It was the contention of the defendant and her parents at trial, that the injury that the plaintiff was suffering from was completely unrelated to the collision.

The issue at trial did not include questions of liability, because the defendant had already admitted to being at fault for the collision. The problem that the defendant had with the plaintiff’s claim was that his injury was not a cause of the auto accident and he was not suffering a permanent injury to his knee. The jury in the case awarded the plaintiff an amount of damages that was equal to his medical bills. They felt as though the plaintiff did not establish that that his injury has long-lasting effects, and therefore gave him only an amount great enough to cover his out-of-pocket expenses.

It is extremely important to remember that in order to recover damages for pain and suffering in Florida, a plaintiff must show that they are no long “whole”. In other words, they received an injury that has changed their physical capability for the extent of their life.

If you’ve been injured in an auto accident, contact the Fort Lauderdale law firm of Madalon Law for a free consultation.