A 48 year old Sarasota woman was killed Sunday when another driver ran a flashing red light. According to reports in the Bradenton Herald and Sarasota Herald Tribune, Dixie Ann Gallagher was driving through the intersection at Proctor and Honore when 47 year old Diane Koprowski drove right through a flashing red light. Koprowski's Chevy Impala smashed into Gallagher's Ford Explorer with such force that it flipped over onto its side. Dixie Ann Gallagher died at the scene of the accident. Paramedics rushed Gallagher's passenger, 80 year old Mavis Burton, to a trauma center in serious condition.
We often talk to a victim's family soon after a tragic accident like this one, and it is one of the hardest parts of our job to see the pain that they're going through. As attorneys we know it's difficult to think about a wrongful death case in the days after a fatal car accident, but unfortunately the way Florida's wrongful death statute works, a personal representative must be established for the estate. If the victim doesn't leave behind a will, then a judge gets involved to make those types of decisions. This is where we often help the family get through probate and then establish the case facts for a wrongful death suit.
When a passenger is hurt in a serious car accident, usually their own Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance will cover them. But it gets much more complicated if the passenger doesn't own a car. In that case, they may be able to collect injury coverage from either the at-fault driver's Bodily Injury (BI) policy, or from the deceased drivers Uninsured Motorist (UM) policy.
Problems come up when neither driver has these one of these car insurance policies. That's when the passenger could be completely out of luck with no coverage at all for their injuries. Everyone who rides along as a passenger in a car or motorcycle takes a risk that they won't have any injury coverage in an accident. That's why it is so important that every driver have at least Uninsured Motorist (UM) coverage, which would help their passenger in this instance.
We can help families struggling to get through this complicated and emotional time. Our attorneys will handle the case on your behalf with compassion and experience. If you'd like more information about your rights after a serious car accident, please contact Buckman and Buckman, P.A. at (941) 923-7700 or use our online form.