A head on collision was reported on Cypress Gardens Blvd. in Winter Haven, Florida where Sandeep Kumar Beri died. The collision happened at approximately 11:58 am on Sunday July 7, 2019 when Nannette Cruz Garcia crossed over the center line striking a PT Cruiser driven by a 15 year-old driver with a learner’s permit. The child was driving under the supervision of Mr. Beri.
What The Family Needs To Know
It is always a tragedy when a family loses a loved one. My heart goes out to the family involved. However, the Beri family is in need of legal help under the circumstances. Below are my thoughts as a professional.
First, there are three claims involved (1- the wrongful death of Mr. Beri and derivative claims, 2- the injury claims of both children involved). With a typical auto accident, there is generally not enough insurance to cover all of the claims. The medical bills may very well be more than the insurance policy limits (we will deal with that in a minute).
Because there is a wrongful death and because we are talking about minor’s claims, the family should ask the insurance company to cover the cost of a probate as well as any guardianship necessary to obtain court approval of the minor’s claims. Insurance companies will often do this because they can categorize these expenses as “claim expenses” rather than liability payments.
Secondly, the injured children are most likely covered by health insurance in one form or another. Depending on the type of health coverage, the injured children may be able to get a waiver or significant reduction in the amount that must be repaid to health coverage from a settlement. Further, if the children were covered by a Medicaid plan (such as Simply Health), there are arguments that can be made that the statutory formula found in section 409.910, Fla. Stat. does not apply to a Medicaid plan (only direct Medicaid benefits through AHCA).
Finally, depending on the circumstances, there may be a way to categorize the liability payment so that there are no lien rights. For instance, section 409.910, Fla. Stat. only attaches to the medical portion of a settlement. If the liability payments can be characterized as survivor payments from the wrongful death, then the damages paid are not medical and are therefore not subject to lien rights from Florida Medicaid.
There is just a lot to consider here.