While the conduct of a motorist in disobeying traffic safety laws can constitute important evidence of negligence, Florida law generally bans the introduction of evidence regarding whether a traffic citation was issued to establish a party engaged in the negligent conduct. Our lawyers understand that this distinction might seem confusing, but the illegal conduct and not the issuing of a citation provides the relevant evidence. The rationale for this rule is that the judge or jury should make the determination of fault according to the relevant legal standard, rather than a police officer issuing a citation within his discretion and not subject to the same standard of proof.
Our personal watercraft injury lawyers would like to call attention to a recent decision that extends this principle to accidents involving vessels on waterways like a jet ski, Seadoo, boat, or other personal watercraft. In Soto v. McCulley Marine Services, the defendants’ services were retained to construct an artificial reef in the Gulf of Mexico. While performing the work, the defendants used a barge to transport materials. The barge and accompanying tugboat were moored by a dock in the staging area for a 4th of July celebration near a park with a beach. The area was filled with personal watercrafts because of the holiday and had a reputation for strong currents. Continue reading →