Case Law Update On Permanent Injuries In Car Accident Cases

On May 19, 2011, the Florida Supreme Court issued its decision in the case of Wald v. Grainger, 36 Fla.L.Weekly S211b (Fla. May 19, 2011). The Supreme Court held that although the determinations about permanency of an injury arising out of a car accident are generally made by juries, where evidence of injury and causation is such that no reasonable inference could support a jury verdict for defendant, it is not improper to direct a verdict on the permanency issue for plaintiff.

The Court went on to hold that a plaintiff in a car accident case can establish a prima facie case of permanency by presenting expert testimony of permanency, and burden then shifts to defendant in a car accident case to present countervailing expert testimony, impeach plaintiff's expert, or present other evidence which creates direct conflict with plaintiff's evidence. Where medical evidence on permanency is undisputed, unimpeached or not otherwise subject to question based on other evidence at trial, jury is not free to ignore or arbitrarily reject that medical evidence and render verdict in conflict with it.