Choose a Topic

View Our Case Results
Kelley/Uustal Practice Areas

Yeinson Torres Hurtado, et al. v. Nigel Desouza, Case Nos. 4D12-1817 & 4D13-1469 (4th DCA)

In Hurtado, the Fourth DCA reversed a judgment in favor of the plaintiff in a rear-end auto accident case based on a collateral source/set-off issue concerning unemployment benefits. The plaintiff filed a claim for personal injuries, and the defendants answered, including an affirmative defense seeking a setoff for government benefits. The plaintiff was a commercial pilot but was laid off and receiving unemployment compensation at the time of the accident. The jury found for the plaintiff, and awarded more than $1 million, including $325,000 in past lost wages. The court granted a setoff of the amount of unemployment benefits received.

The issue on appeal was whether unemployment compensation is a collateral source subject to a setoff under Fla. Stat. 768.76. The Fourth DCA noted that common law prohibited a setoff of collateral source benefits; however, section 768.76 abrogated the common law collateral source rule and replaced it with a statutory provision that allows certain payments from collateral sources to be set off from a plaintiff's recovery. The Fourth DCA ruled that Fla. Stat. 768.76 does not provide for a setoff of unemployment compensation benefits. The court found that applying the plain meaning of the statute, unemployment compensation does not fall under any of the sections defining collateral sources. The court additionally, specifically noted that a person cannot qualify for unemployment compensation unless he or she is able to work, and therefore, unemployment compensation does fall within the ambit of disability income under the collateral source statute. The Fourth DCA thoroughly analysed the various sections of Fla. Stat. 768.76 defining collateral sources, and found that none encompassed unemployment benefits. Therefore, the trial court erred in setting off those benefits from the final judgment.


Recognized as One of the Nation's Best Law Firms

Don't just take our word for it. See it for yourself.

Client Reviews & Testimonials
  • AV Peer Review Rated
  • Florida Super Lawyers
  • South Florida Top Rated Lawyers
  • Best Law Firms
  • The Best Lawyers in America
  • The National Trial Lawyers - Top 100 Trial Lawyers
  • South Florida Business Journal - 2017  Best Places to Work
  • Sun Sentinel - 2017 Top Work Places
© 2014 All Rights Reserved The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.