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Parents May Have Wrongful Death Case Against Speeding Driver

Posted in News,Wrongful Death on May 13, 2013

Three teens and two others recently died in Florida after their automobile was struck by a driver who was speeding after he exited I-95.

The at fault driver was operating a 2008 Mercedes Benz was reportedly speeding as he exited the highway and ran a red light signal  in Riviera Beach the police reported.

The 21 year old defendant crashed into the victims 1994 Lexus which contained five people. The youngest victim was fourteen and the oldest twenty one years of age. Four individuals were ejected from their car upon impact. The police report that only one of the passengers was wearing a seatbelt.

Four of the victims died at the accident scene.  A fifth passed away after being transported to a hospital.

The police indicate that no charges have yet to be filed but that the defendant’s blood would be checked for the presence of drugs or alcohol and that nothing would be ruled out.

The police report that the at fault driver was operating the Mercedes Benz in question at “a high rate of speed” as he left the ramp and struck the Lexus.  Crash debris also hit a third vehicle, but the driver was not injured.

The families should in my opinion take time to heal before they think about their legal options.  Unfortunately Florida law does not allow an unlimited amount of time prior to heal and contemplate. Florida, like most states places time limits on claims. Each potential claim has it’s own respective time limit. In Florida negligence cases plaintiffs are given four years to either settle their claims or to file a lawsuit.

There is a two year statute of limitations with regard to Florida wrongful death claims. What this means is that the estates of the deceased young people must either file a law suit or settle their respective claims for negligence against the at fault speeding driver within 2 years of the date of the accident or they may lose their rights to seek compensation for the death of their loved ones.

Obtaining compensation for the wrongful death of a loved one in Florida is not easy and the Florida legislature in addition to the above 2 year Statute of Limitations has set down additional limitations as to who may eligible for compensation in the event of a wrongful death.  The Florida Wrongful Death Act and more specifically Florida Statute 768.21 delineates who may be entitled to damages in the event of a wrongful death.

Section 3 of the above statute inexplicably limits the adult children of a deceased from seeking damages, if the deceased had a spouse that survived. Section 4 excludes surviving parents from seeking damages, if the deceased left a surviving spouse and or children. Section 8 of the Statute contains several exclusions for medical malpractice. While this is not the case, in this tragic accident, all Floridians should be aware that if a parent is lost due to medical malpractice, adult children may not seek compensation. In the case of a loss of an adult child due to medical malpractice the surviving parents may not be compensated.