Appellate Court Determines Evidence of Personal Injury Plaintiff’s Potential Intoxication and License Status Are Relevant Issues at Trial

Earlier this month, an appellate court in Florida issued a written opinion in a personal injury case brought by several men who were injured in a multi-vehicle motorcycle collision they claimed was caused by the defendant’s aggressive driving. Since the lower court prevented the defendant from admitting certain evidence, the appellate court was tasked with determining whether the evidence should have been excluded. Finding that it was improperly excluded, the case was reversed.

The below case is important for Maryland motorcycle accident plaintiffs because it illustrates how important pre-trial discovery motions can be. Indeed, many cases are won and lost before the jury is even empaneled. This is because a party that loses a pre-trial evidentiary ruling may be more willing to consider a settlement offer, reducing the risk of taking the case to trial.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiffs were three men who left the bar at around 11:00 p.m. Two men were driving a motorcycle, and the third was a passenger on the back of one of the motorcycles. The passenger was on the rear of a bike that was operated by a driver who only had a learner’s permit and was not legally permitted to carry a passenger.

The facts of the accident were contested at trial, but the plaintiffs claim that the defendant revved his engine at a stop sign, indicating he wanted to race. As the vehicles took off, the plaintiffs say that the defendant swerved into one of the motorcycles, causing it to crash into the other motorcycle.

The defendant agreed that he revved his engine but claims he never came into contact with either of the motorcycles. He explained that one of the motorcycles lost control and crashed into the other motorcycle on its own. In support of his defense, he attempted to introduce evidence that the motorcyclist carrying the passenger did not have a permit allowing him to have a passenger. The defendant also attempted to introduce evidence that the plaintiffs had been drinking immediately before the accident.

The lower court prevented the defendant from admitting the evidence, and the defendant then appealed to a higher court. On review, the appellate court agreed with the defendant that the evidence was relevant for trial. The court explained that the fact that the plaintiffs may have been intoxicated was a fact that the jury should have been permitted to hear, since it could be helpful in resolving the case. Similarly, the court believed that the motorcyclist’s lack of a license to carry a passenger may have been relevant to the motorcyclist’s own inability to properly maintain control with a passenger on the back of the bike.

Have You Been Injured in a Maryland Motorcycle Accident?

If you or a loved one has recently been injured in any kind of Maryland motorcycle accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. The dedicated Maryland personal injury lawyers at the law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen Personal Injury Lawyers have a successful track record spanning several decades. We represent clients in the Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. areas. Call 410-654-3600 to schedule a free consultation with an attorney today. Since we work on a contingent-fee basis, you will not be billed for our services unless we are able to help you obtain the compensation you deserve.

More Blog Posts:

Maryland Motorcycle Accidents Caused by Motorists Running Red Lights, Maryland Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Blog, published August 4, 2017.

Establishing Government Liability in Maryland Motorcycle Accidents, Maryland Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Blog, published July 13, 2017.

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