An appellate court recently affirmed a Florida car accident victim’s right to uninsured motorist benefits from her insurer after successfully arguing a 12-foot ladder left in the road had fallen from a truck whose owner/ driver were not identified. This personal injury case before Florida’s 1st District Court of Appeals was interesting for the fact that:
- It involved a phantom motor vehicle;
- The court inferred the ladder in the road had fallen from a pickup truck that had parked in the right emergency lane;
- The court inferred the ladder had fallen into the road (causing a chain collision) due to negligence in securing the ladder.
These conclusions were based primarily on circumstantial evidence and witness statements. Plaintiff’s uninsured motorist (UM) insurance carrier argued there was no proof of those last two points, the assertion relying wholly on circumstantial evidence and failing to exclude other possibilities. Defense sought a directed verdict in its favor. The court denied the motion and jurors decided the case in favor of plaintiff. The phantom vehicle was found 60 percent at-fault for the collision, while the soda company truck that rear-ended plaintiff’s vehicle when she made a sudden stop on the highway was 40 percent at-fault. The UM carrier is liable for damages caused by the “phantom vehicle. Continue reading