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Father and Three Sons Killed in Drunken Car Accident

Chris Russo Aug 4, 2010

A father and his three sons were killed in a car accident in St. Petersburg, Florida.  A 20-year old man that police say was drunk ran a red light and struck a Ford Fusion carrying Elroy McConnell, 51, Elroy McConnell III, 28, Nathan McConnell, 24, and Kelly McConnell, 19.  The McConnell's had been at the beach and were from Orlando, Florida.  The accident was alleged to have occurred at high speed.  Other news reports indicated that the drunken driver admitted to alcohol and mirjuana use prior to the accident.  Those other reports also indicate that the driver may have admitted speeds at approximately 80 mph prior to the crash.

This accident is a true tragedy.  The drunken driver will likely face multiple DUI manslaughter counts and a lengthy prison term.  Further, it is likely that the at-fault drunken driver had little or no assets and only minimal insurance limits.  With four dead victims, those minimal insurance limits will likely not go very far.  There is a $5,000 PIP no-fault death benefit that the McConnell's will receive for each estate.  Beyond that, the McConnell family will likely have no choice but to rely on uninsured or underinsured motorists coverage (UM) for their loss.  It is unlikely that the at-fault drunken driver will ever produce any income with the punishment that he faces in the criminal system.  Punitive damages are allowed by law agains the at-fault driver but a trial would be necessary to go a judgment for those punitive damages and it is unlikely that those punitive damages would ever be collected as insurance policies do not provide coverage for the payment of punitive damages.  There is a specific exclusion in virtually every automobile liability policy to exclude such damages.  It is unlikely that the family would wish to go through a trial when it is unlikely that they will collect anything from it.  Notwithstanding the likely limited insurance funds, if the McConnell's have UM coverage, their UM carrier should offer their policy limits without a demand and offer to setup probates free of charge to the McConnell family.  If you or a loved one has a question about wrongful death or car accident claims, please contact a Central Florida personal injury lawyer with Moody Law to discuss the unique and particular facts of the case that may answer your question.  There may be some unanswered questions or pitfalls to making an insurance claim, in particular with UM claims, that we recommend require the consultation of a Central Florida personal injury lawyer.  A consultation with one of our personal injury lawyers is free.  Our personal injury lawyers serve the Greater Central Florida area, including Lakeland, Winter Haven, Bartow, Haines City, Davenport, and Polk County, Florida.  We also handle selected cases on a statewide basis.

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