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Driver Charged with DUI in Fatal Clearwater Motorycle Crash

A motorcycle rider died Saturday, June 1, 2019, after a 29-year-old driver allegedly turned left directly in front of a motorcycle. The accident happened as the driver of a 2013 Hyundai traveling south on Ft. Harrison Avenue tried to turn onto Belleview Boulevard but turned directly into the path of a 59-year-old man riding a motorcycle.

According to police at the scene, the rider was thrown from the bike and suffered fatal injuries. The driver of the Hyundai failed a field sobriety test and was charged with DUI manslaughter and for child neglect for driving impaired while minor children were in the car.

Wrongful Death and DUI

Anytime someone is killed in an auto accident, the at-fault driver may be held liable for a personal injury that resulted in death. This is called a wrongful death claim. When the at-fault driver is intoxicated and then arrested and sent to prison for DUI manslaughter, the family members often wonder if they are still going to be able to collect any compensation since the person is locked up.

Incarceration and Auto Insurance

This is a valid question because when someone is locked up, it seems that they might not be available for trials and other proceedings associated to a wrongful death claim. Then if they get a judgement against them, how are they going to pay?

However, under Florida law, if a person is in prison, they can be served papers at that address, and the state will make sure they are available for all official proceedings. As for being able to pay, hopefully they had auto insurance at the time of the accident. If so, the insurance company will be required to pay for any financial losses incurred by the victim up to the limits of the policy cap.

What if There was no Auto Insurance?

In the event that the impaired driver (or any at-fault driver) doesn’t have auto insurance, if the victim had their own policy, then it might pay for their losses if they have certain policy provision:

  • Medpay: This is a provision that drivers can get on their own policy that will pay for medical bills regardless of who is at fault or who is injured so long as the insured or their vehicle is involved.
  • Personal Injury Protection (PIP): This works similar to medpay, but it pays medical bills and other damages like pain and suffering and loss of wages. It also pays out regardless of who was injured or at fault so long at the insured or their vehicle is involved.
  • Uninsured/Underinsured (UM/UIM): Most insurance policies have uninsured/underinsured provisions that will pay those covered by the policy for all personal injury damages if the other driver is underinsured or has no insurance. This can include when a hit-and-run driver is never found, so long as they were at fault in the accident.

In Florida, the law doesn’t require that a driver have UM/UIM but many people carry that as protection against those with no or little insurance. If a driver does have any of these provisions, then they can collect against their own insurance company for their losses.

Medpay and PIP will not pay for a wrongful death claim, but it will pay for medical bills and some other losses up until the time of death. UM/UIM, however, does cover most financial losses faced by the survivors of a accident fatality.

Do I need an Attorney?

If you’ve had a family member killed because of someone else’s negligence, then you need to talk to an attorney to find out your rights under the law. DON’T talk to anyone form the insurance company or their lawyers until you have at least spoken to an experienced Motorcycle injury attorney.

In a wrongful death claim, there are many potential pitfalls that someone can incur that night get the claim dismissed. So the best thing to do if you live in the Tampa area is to call RHINO Lawyers which is the powerful, results-driven law firm, that takes Insurance Companies and Bullies “head on!” We describe our bold modern approach to “Accident & Personal Injury Law” and “Our Personal Mission” to empower Florida’s families to “Take Charge!”

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