A horrific tragedy occurred in Florida on a recent Saturday evening. Six people were killed and another was seriously injured when the SUV they were riding in was struck by a train as the driver attempted to cross the train tracks. They were on their way to a quinceanera at a home in Hillsborough County. All were related, except for one 17-year-old girl.
The 52-year driver and his 50-year-old wife, both killed, were the parents of three of the victims, ages 22, 17 and 9. They all perished as well. Another 17-year-old girl also died. She was not related to the others. No information was provided concerning the one accident victim who survived.
Tragedies like this one raise several legal issues. For instance, what happens when the person believed to have been at fault was related to other victims. Technically, those victims (or their estates in a fatal accident) still have grounds to pursue wrongful death claims in civil court. Most of those cases are usually resolved through insurance claims, and surviving family members will likely benefit by retaining legal counsel to submit and negotiate those claims.
The claim of any passenger who was not related to the driver could also be settled with the insurance company. However, as with any fatal motor vehicle accident in Florida, a deceased victim’s surviving family reserves the right to pursue a wrongful death claim in court. An experienced personal injury attorney can represent their interests to pursue a fair and comprehensive monetary judgment. Of course, at this moment the thoughts of friends and family, as well as the Hillsborough County community, are with the victims and their families.