Injury Law Update:

Week of July 15

First DCA

Chappell, et. al. v. Clark (No. 1D17-0854) – Car Accident

Clark was injured when a vehicle driving by Chappell rear-ended her.  At trial, experts and doctors agreed the injuries were permanent. Clark moved for directed verdict as to the permanency of her injuries and the trial court granted the same.  Chappell appealed the granting of directed verdict.

The First District affirmed the trial court’s decision.  Citing to Wald v. Grainger, the First District agreed the jury was not free to disregard the undisputed testimony that Clark’s injuries were permanent.  Since the jury could not ignore or disregard the undisputed evidence, directed verdict regarding permanency of the injury was correct.

Specialty Hospital – Gainesville, Inc. v. Barth – Medical Malpractice

After suffering paralysis, Barth was transferred to Select Specialty Hospital-Gainesville for assisted living.  While at Specialty, and due to the failure of proper assistance, Barth suffered a deep pressure ulcer. Barth was eventually transferred to Heartland of Orange Park for additional surgery and care to address the pressure ulcer.  Barth filed a lawsuit against Specialty for the negligent care he received. Specialty pled comparative fault of a non-party, Heartland. Barth prevailed at trial again Specialty. However, the trial court denied his motion for directed verdict on comparative fault and post-trial motion directed to Specialty’s affirmative defense.  Barth appealed.

On appeal, the First District agreed it was error not to grant directed verdict as to Specialty’s comparative fault affirmative defense because no expert opined that Barth’s injury would not have progressive if Heartland had not been negligent.  Rather, the expert testimony was that Specialty’s negligence made the resulting injury inevitable. As such, there was no evidence to support the affirmative defense of comparative fault of a non-party.

The appellate court noted that even if Specialty proved Heartland’s negligence contributed to Barth’s condition, Barth would still be entitled to directed verdict on comparative fault based on Stuart v. Hertz Corp.  Since Heartland was not a joint tortfeasor with Specialty, and since no evidence was introduced showing the injury would have occurred without Heartland’s negligence, directed verdict for Barth was proper.

NOTE:  Stuart v. Hertz Corp. was a Florida Supreme Court case which held that a subsequent provider of medical malpractice was not a joint tortfeasor with the original tortfeasor.  In laymen’s terms, this means that the original tortfeasor cannot diminish or lessen their responsibility because another tortfeasor later aggravates the original condition.  This concept was later extended to all tortfeasors, whether by way of medical malpractice, car accident, trip and fall, or any other injury, via the Florida Supreme Court in D’Amario v. Ford Motor Company.

Second DCA 

None Discussed This Week.

Third DCA

None Discussed This Week. 

Fourth DCA

None Discussed This Week.   

Fifth DCA

None Discussed This Week. 


If you have been injured, contact Presser Law for a free case review with an attorney to determine your legal rights.  For over 10 years I have represented injury victims throughout Central Florida in their times of need and I would be honored to help you as well.


About Injury and Wrongful Death Attorney Justin H. Presser

Justin H. Presser is an award-winning attorney and founder of Presser Law, P.A. representing clients in the areas of personal injury, car accidents, motorcycle accidents, wrongful death and more.  With an office located in Altamonte Springs, Florida, Presser Law, P.A., proudly services clients throughout Central Florida including the following areas:  Orange County including Orlando, Ocoee, Doctor Phillips, Apopka, Winter Garden, Winter Park, Maitland, College Park, Thornton Park;  Seminole County including Altamonte Springs, Longwood, Winter Springs, Lake Mary, Oviedo, Casselberry, Chuluota;  Lake County including Clermont, Mount Dora, Eustis, Tavares, Leesburg, Sorrento; and Brevard County including Melbourne, Merritt Island, Cocoa Beach, Titusville, Palm Bay.

Altamonte Springs Injury Lawyer | Altamonte Springs Car Accident Attorney

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