Elnora Parris Smith died in a car accident in Auburndale, Florida on April 3, 2017. Smith was 83 years old. The accident was reported have happened when she attempted to make a left hand turn from Alabama Lane onto US92. Smith was driving a 2004 Buick and was hit by a 2007 Mitsubishi Eclipse driven by Vaneeka Williams. Smith was taken to Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center, where she died, while Williams was taken to Winter Haven Hospital for treatment and was later discharged.
Legal Liability For Crash
This accident happened at approximately 5:00 p.m. Williams would have been heading east at the time of the incident while Ms. Smith would have been looking west into the direction of the sun. At that time of day, it is still very bright, however, the sun can be overpowering. Regardless of environmental factors, a vehicle turning left across a 4-lane divided highway has a legal obligation to ensure that it is clear to do so before attempting the maneuver. As such, legal liability for this collision will be attributed to Ms. Smith. Ms. Williams, therefore, has a claim against Ms. Smith’s estate for personal injury and property damage as a result of the collision.
Basics Of A Florida Car Accident Claim
Ms. Williams was taken to the emergency department at Winter Haven Hospital and released shortly thereafter. No-fault coverage on Ms. Williams’ own automobile policy will cover her ER bills at 80% minus any deductible (I should also take the opportunity to say that we, as personal injury attorneys, never recommend that anyone ever carry a PIP deductible). This ER visit should qualify Ms. Williams as having an “EMC” (or emergency medical condition) under Florida law for $10,000 in no-fault benefits (as opposed to just $2,500 for non-emergency conditions).
Thereafter, Ms. Williams’ no-fault coverage should pay 80% of any medical expenses for follow-up care until the coverage is exhausted. After that, health coverage of some sort should be able to pick up the medical expenses.
This is where things start to get complicated. If Ms. Williams settles her case against Smith’s estate, she will have to get enough to cover her unpaid medical expenses plus any subrogation or reimbursement rights that her health coverage has. In addition, Ms. Williams will likely have some degree of permanent residual damage as a result of this accident for which she is entitled to pain and suffering damages after meeting the “permanent injury threshold” in Florida.
Death Benefits Under Florida Automobile Insurance
Additionally, family members and survivors of Ms. Smith should be aware that all Florida automobile insurance policies provide for a $5,000 death benefit regardless of whether no-fault benefits were paid to the hospital. This death benefit is paid regardless of fault for the accident.
Talk To A Lakeland Car Accident Attorney
If you or someone you know has been injured in a car accident in Polk County, Florida, you should contact a Lakeland car accident attorney to discuss the case in further detail. If you have a legal claim for which you are due compensation, we can help you file the appropriate claims with the insurance company and file any lawsuits, if necessary. Schedule your free appointment with an attorney today.