Motorcycle Accident at 540A and South Florida Avenue in Lakeland

Motorcycle Accidents

Scratty Joseph died from injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident in Lakeland, Florida at the intersection of 540A and S. Florida Avenue.  The accident happened on June 13, 2017 and he died the next day at Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center.  Joseph, who was from Orlando, had just purchased a motorcycle when he attempted to make a left hand turn from Florida Avenue onto 540A.  Joseph had a green light but was hit by a 2009 Ford F-350 pulling a trailer driven by Patrick Miller.  Miller had a red light going northbound on Florida Avenue and should have stopped.  Miller was cited for the accident.  Joseph was reported to have not been wearing a helmet.

Legal Responsibility For Wrongful Death

As Miller’s negligence was clearly the cause of this crash, he is going to be held responsible in a courtroom for Mr. Joseph’s wrongful death.  Any insurance policy that Mr. Miller has that applies to an automobile should pay their policy limits to Mr. Joseph’s estate to resolve this matter without a lawsuit.

The article about this accident in The Ledger did not mention who Mr. Joseph’s survivors are, however, he is likely survived by at least his parents.  In Florida, parents of adult children can recover damages for pain and suffering under section 768.21, Fla. Stat. as below:

Each parent of a deceased minor child may also recover for mental pain and suffering from the date of injury. Each parent of an adult child may also recover for mental pain and suffering if there are no other survivors.

Mental pain and suffering in a wrongful death case is usually the most significant form of damages and often exceeds all other damages combined.

Effect Of Not Wearing A Motorcycle Helmet

Generally speaking, the failure to wear a motorcycle helmet can be considered comparative fault just like failure to wear a seat belt while riding in a car.  However in a wrongful death case, when wearing a motorcycle would not have saved the rider’s life, then there should be no reduction for comparative fault.  Whether this makes any difference in dollars and cents will come down to how much the insurance policy limits are.  With most automobile insurance policy, this case should be considered a case that exceeds policy limits even though there is a helmet issue.

What Happens Next?

Some insurance companies will sit back and wait for someone to make an insurance claim before paying policy limits.  In doing so, the insurance company is hoping that a claim is never made before the expiration of the statute of limitations and that they do not have to pay.  This sometimes but seldom ever happens.  Other insurance companies will actively seek out the survivors and will make them an offer in exchange for a release of liability.

The statute of limitations for a wrongful death claim in Florida is two years (see section 95.11, Fla. Stat.).  If the claim is not settled or a lawsuit filed by that time, then anyone with a claim is forever barred and prevented from making a claim.

Contact A Lakeland Motorcycle Accident Attorney Help

If you or a loved has been injured in a motorcycle accident in Lakeland, Florida, you should contact a motorcycle accident attorney in Lakeland, Florida for help in dealing with the insurance company.  Money for pain and suffering in addition to other damages such as property damage may be applicable to your case.  Call today to schedule your free appointment with an attorney.

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