The family of Marcos Luna, who was killed in a car crash on February 8, 2002, may have the right to file a wrongful death claim against the driver of the vehicle that Luna was a passenger in.
Victor Lopez Ruiz was behind the wheel of a Ford F150 pickup truck when it collided with a Toyota Camry on Seminole Drive in Atlantis. Witnesses told investigators they saw Rios driving erratically across westbound Lantana Road as he approached the intersection at Seminole. Moments later, he drove into the Camry which was traveling eastbound.
According to the arrest report, a police officer noticed Rios had the smell of alcohol on his breath. When asked by law enforcement if he had anything to drink, Rios reportedly said he had two beers. Blood Alcohol Content testing revealed Rios’ level was three times more than the legal limit. DUI investigators also noted that Rios’ eyes “appeared to be glassy, watery, and bloodshot.”
Grounds for Wrongful Death Claim
Although families of Florida car accident victims cannot get their loved ones back, Florida state laws allows them to bring a claim against all responsible parties. The Florida Wrongful Death Act in Florida statutes section 768.16 allows families of accident victims to file civil charges against those responsible.
To prove liability, the following must be proven: the death was caused by that person’s wrongful act, negligence, or breach of contract. So, a wrongful death suit can only be brought if he deceased could have filed a lawsuit for the injuries he/she sustained, had he/she survived.
What Damages Can Be Recovered?
The victim’s family may recover for loss of income, medical expenses, and mental pain and suffering. A surviving spouse can also recover for loss of companionship and protection. Children can receive damages for lost parental companionship, instruction, and guidance. If successful, any amount recovered through a Florida wrongful death case goes directly to the deceased’s next of kin.
Ruiz Sentenced To 9 Years in Plea Deal
Facing up to 65 years in prison had he been found guilty of charges that included DUI manslaughter, vehicular homicide, and driving with a suspended license, Ruiz pled guilty just three days before he was set to go to trial. The State Attorney’s and State Public Defender’s offices helped negotiate a nine-year sentence in exchange for the guilty plea. The family of Marcs Luna also agreed to the plea. Judge Daliah Weiss called the agreement a “really good plea for you sir, that gives me some hesitation, quite frankly.” She considered rejecting the plea before agreeing to it. Rios’ driver’s license was also revoked for life.
Why File A Claim?
A wrongful death lawsuit can help a family deal with financial burdens as they navigate the grieving process. But, because they are extremely complex, families considering a claim should speak with an attorney who has experience negotiating and litigating wrongful death cases as soon as possible. Have questions about a possible case? The attorneys and legal staff at GOLDLAW are experienced and have a successful record bringing wrongful death lawsuits on behalf of our clients. To receive a free consultation, call 561-222-2222 to discuss your situation!
Notice: As a personal injury law firm, we frequently provide legal analysis and opinion on news stories in the hope that the family and friends of the victims may gain some valuable insight into our theories of negligence based on the facts of the case. Respectfully, our thoughts are with those who have suffered a catastrophic injury or death.