Losing a loved one unexpectedly is always devastating but losing a loved one in an accident that was completely preventable can be even worse. One Florida woman thought her nightmare was over years after her husband was killed by a drunk driver. However, a lawsuit brought by an insurance company quickly reopened those wounds.
The car accident that took her husband’s life occurred several years ago. The victim was driving his silver Buick Enclave at the intersection of Federal Highway and Northeast First Street in Fort Lauderdale, FL. He had pulled out from a stop sign when he was struck by a speeding Lamborghini. The driver of that vehicle had just left from having drinks and lunch at a local restaurant. The victim, who was 82 years old, succumbed to injuries he incurred in the crash.
Adding a level of complexity to the case was the fact that the victim was driving his vehicle for the popular ride-sharing service, Uber. Insurance company, James River Insurance Co, provided coverage for the victim’s policy with Uber.
The victim’s widow filed a wrongful death lawsuit, naming the driver of the Lamborghini as the responsible party. She also filed a claim with the Uber insurance company in the amount of the limits of the driver’s insurance policy, which was approximately $1 million.
The insurance company and victim’s widow reached a confidential settlement in February 2017. James River claims that they paid the limits of the policy, plus an additional $250,000. The drunk driver and victim’s widow also reached a settlement outside of court in April 2017 for an undisclosed amount.
Shortly after, James River pursued the drunk driver to receive payment for money they paid to the victim’s family. This practice is quite common for these types of insurance disputes, although the driver of the Lamborghini fought back and disputed James River’s claim.
Three years later, James River has filed another claim, adding the victim’s widow to the lawsuit, demanding repayment of the $1 million dollars they paid in February 2017. They claim that the widow is legally required to return the money received from the settlement reached with the drunk driver. As part of this lawsuit, James River claims that the victim’s widow breached her part of the agreement by keeping her settlement with the drunk driver a secret and not disclosing it to James River.
Legal counsel for the widow claim that the insurance company was, in fact, aware of the out-of-court settlement. They claim that James River was involved in the process of working out the terms of the agreement. In addition, her attorneys claim that the insurance company had agreed in writing that they would not pursue any claim against the widow after the agreement was reached.
Insurance companies are normally involved in these types of settlements. Insurers normally only sue their policyholder when they fail to inform the company about a settlement with a third party. Parties maintain that James River was, in fact, aware of the settlement and was a part of the entire process.
The Lamborghini driver plead guilty to DUI manslaughter and was sentenced to two years of incarceration, which was later changed to house arrest due to health issues. He also agreed to 10 years of probation and payment of $20,000 to the victim’s three sons.
If you or someone close to you was seriously injured in an Orlando drunk driving accident, our personal injury lawyers are ready to help protect your legal rights. If your loved one died because another person acted in a reckless or otherwise dangerous manner, that responsible person should be held accountable for their actions.
Wooten, Kimbrough, Damaso & Dennis, P.A. is based in Orlando, FL and was founded in 1966. The firm is comprised of award-winning trial lawyers who have obtained significant verdicts and settlements for the injured and their families throughout the State of Florida. We provide free consultations to all families suffering from wrongful deaths or injuries caused by car accidents or catastrophic injuries. If you are not sure where to turn following a serious car accident, call us today at (407) 843-7060. Virtual sign-ups available.
A civil trial attorney with the firm Wooten, Kimbrough, Damaso & Dennis, P.A., Mr. Damaso concentrates on cases involving personal injury and wrongful deaths and solely represents individual victims and consumers. He takes his clients' cases personally and is committed to their best possible outcome. His strong sense of community has led to his support of numerous charities in the Orlando area.