Glenn Gillenwater was a pedestrian on the sidewalk on the west side of Harden Boulevard in Lakeland, Florida when he was struck by a pickup truck that had swerved and lost control. Gillenwater was 63 years old. The accident happened at approximately 2:45 p.m. when Michael Duey drove over the elevated curb and over the sidewalk before going down into the ditch. Duey struck two trees before stopping. Gillenwater was taken to Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center but he did not survive. Duey only suffered minor injuries. The accident happened between the intersections with Beacon Road and Ariana Street.
The Sidewalk Is Not Safe
It is a tragedy that Mr. Gillenwater had to lose his life because someone driving a pickup truck was careless. We do not know what was caused Mr. Duey to drive over the raised curb and onto the sidewalk or what may have been distracting him. The police should take a look at Mr. Duey’s cell phone to see if he was texting and driving or whether he was operating his phone. The cause of this accident was more likely something inside the vehicle than something on the outside. Mr. Gillenwater’s death is clearly a wrongful death under Florida law and his survivors have a claim against Mr. Duey (and the owner of the truck if it is a different person) for this accident. The damages that can be collected are outlined on our page about wrongful death claims in Florida. Under Florida law, the relationship between the decedent and the survivor determine the different types of legal damages that can be collected in a claim.
Insurance Benefits Available
After a car accident, many people are unaware of the different insurance benefits that are available. The first coverage available on this case should be a $5,000 death benefit that is payable under the applicable PIP or no-fault policy. This benefit is paid regardless of fault. Assuming that Mr. Gillenwater had a vehicle of his own, this death benefit gets paid from Mr. Gillenwater’s own automobile insurance policy. If Mr. Gillenwater did not own a vehicle of his own, then the $5,000 no-fault death benefit will either come from a family member’s automobile policy (if he lived with them) or it can come from Mr. Duey’s policy if no other automobile insurance covered Mr. Gillenwater. These benefits are paid even if there is a hospital or EMS bill that exceeds the usual $10,000 per person policy limit for PIP coverage.
The next bucket of insurance is any bodily injury liability insurance that Mr. Duey had on his truck. As Mr. Duey is going to be found legally responsible for this accident, the only questions are how much insurance does he have and does he have any assets that are reachable by civil judgment in excess of his insurance policy limits.
Mr. Duey may or may not have purchased enough insurance coverage for his liability. If Mr. Gillenwater is covered by an automobile insurance policy of his own or under a family member’s policy, then he may have underinsured motorist’s coverage (UM or UIM) benefits payable to his estate for this claim.
Call A Lakeland Wrongful Death Attorney To Discuss Your Case
If you lost a loved one to an accident in Lakeland, you should contact a Lakeland wrongful death attorney to discuss what legal course of action you should take.