$3,135,000 Jury Verdict Against ALAMO Rent-A-Car
Sylvens Raphael is a 27 year old man who was a seat belted passenger in an Alamo Rent-A-Car involved in a two car crash on January 29, 1999.
Sylvens Raphael was a young man from Haiti who was in the United States studying English. He was in the Alamo Rent-A-Car vehicle on his way to Immokalee to visit friends when the driver of the Alamo Rent-A-Car lost control of the vehicle and crossed over a 50 foot median and crashed head on into another car.
Unfortunately, Sylvens Raphael, a father of two young children, suffered serious brain damage which will require him to live in a nursing home for the remainder of his life.
Brett Panter tried this case in Polk County with his brother, Mitchell. After five days, a jury rendered a verdict awarding damages in the amount of $3,135,000.
The jury verdict will enable Sylvens Raphael to receive the necessary care he needs for the remainder of his life. The jury verdict will also make sure that Sylvens’ children have financial support for their education and other necessities while growing up.
The “Dangerous Instrumentality Doctrine” allowed Panter, Panter & Sampedro, P.A. to proceed with the claim against Alamo based upon its ownership of the rental car and its responsibility to the general public as the owner of the motor vehicle.
Without this law, Sylvens Raphael would have become a ward of the State and taxpayers would be paying for his continued care for the remainder of his life.
Brett Panter’s previous trial against Alamo Rent-A-Car resulted in a $7.7 million jury verdict which was upheld by the Third District Court of Appeal. The case can be read in its entirety at Alamo Rent-A-Car, Inc. v. Clay, 586 So.2d 394 (Fla. 3d DCA 1991).
Unfortunately, the Dangerous Instrumentality Doctrine has now been abolished by Florida’s politicians as part of a political payback to big business. In the future Alamo will have limited liability placing the burden of these types of claims upon taxpayers. You can do something to change the law. (Please see article, “Politics Do Affect Your Rights” in this Newsletter.)