Smaglick v. Jersey Ins. Co. of New York, 1422

Decision Date23 April 1968
Docket NumberNo. 1422,1422
Citation209 So.2d 475
PartiesDaniel A. SMAGLICK and Inez M. Smaglick, Appellants, v. JERSEY INSURANCE COMPANY OF NEW YORK, Appellee.
CourtFlorida District Court of Appeals

Joe N. Unger and Thomas J. Gaine, Miami, for appellants.

Earle W. Peterson, Jr., of McCune, Hiaasen, Crum & Ferris, Fort Lauderdale, for appellee.

MURPHREE, JOHN A. H., Associate Judge.

This is a guest passenger automobile accident case where the issue was gross negligence on the part of the driver. The cause was tried before a jury which returned a verdict for the defendant, and it is from the final judgment entered upon that verdict that this appeal is taken by the plaintiffs.

There was evidence of speed of 60 to 70 miles per hour. There was evidence, although inconclusive, of a 45 mile per hour speed zone at the place of the accident. It was dark and the road was dry. The highway was straight for some distance before the accident but contained a slight curve to the left at the point where the car struck a utility pole 19 inches from the curb on the right hand side of the highway. There was evidence of drowsiness and weariness on the part of the driver shortly before the accident due to lack of sufficient sleep and rest during the 48 hour period preceding the occurrence.

Appellant presented as a witness Clarence Bruce, a qualified traffic accident analyst. Appellant contends that the trial judge erred in not allowing Mr. Bruce to give his opinion as to: 1. Whether the car had a braking defect; 2. Whether the car had a steering defect; 3. Whether the driver of the car exhibited sensible control of it; 4. Whether the probable cause of the accident was because the driver went to sleep.

As to points 1 and 2, the witness had made no examination of the steering or braking mechanism but predicated his opinion upon his own reasoning that if the steering mechanism had been out of order the driver would have applied brakes and left tire marks, and there were none; and that if the brakes had been out of order the driver would have steered the car to a safe halt; a fortiori such defects did not exist. This was not expert testimony but mere conclusions deductible from the evidence by the exercise of ordinary common sense.

As to points 3 and 4, it is patent that the jury was fully competent to answer these questions without the aid of the opinion of a traffic reconstruction expert. To permit the witness to have done so...

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11 cases
  • Lugo v. Florida East Coast Ry. Co.
    • United States
    • Florida District Court of Appeals
    • March 25, 1986
    ...(Fla. 2d DCA 1986); Seaboard Coast Line Railroad Company v. Kubalski, 323 So.2d 32 (Fla. 4th DCA 1975); Smaglick v. Jersey Insurance Company of New York, 209 So.2d 475 (Fla. 2d DCA 1968); Mills v. Redwing Carriers, Inc. 127 So.2d 453 (Fla. 2d DCA 1961). Even if it would have been appropriat......
  • McGough v. State
    • United States
    • Florida Supreme Court
    • October 28, 1974
    ...the ordinary experience of jurors, conclusions to be drawn therefrom are to be left to those jurors. Smaglick v. Jersey Insurance Company of New York, Fla.App.1968, 209 So.2d 475; Mevorah v. Goodman, 79 N.D. 443, 57 N.W.2d Accordingly, In this cause, the evidence falls short of that quality......
  • Seaboard Coast Line R. Co. v. Buchman
    • United States
    • Florida District Court of Appeals
    • April 21, 1978
    ...by a traffic reconstruction expert concerning the cause of an automobile accident, the court in Smaglick v. Jersey Insurance Co. of New York, 209 So.2d 475 (Fla. 4th DCA 1968), Expert opinions are admissible only when the facts to be determined are obscure and can be made clear only by the ......
  • Roseman v. Town Square Ass'n, Inc.
    • United States
    • Florida District Court of Appeals
    • December 5, 2001
    ...County Sch. Bd. v. Cruz, 761 So.2d 388, 394 (Fla. 4th DCA 2000), aff'd, 800 So.2d 213 (Fla.2001). In Smaglick v. Jersey Insurance Co. of New York, 209 So.2d 475, 476-77 (Fla. 4th DCA 1968), this court held Expert opinions are admissible only when the facts to be determined are obscure and c......
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