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Car Accident Involving Triplets in Front Yard

Chris Russo Nov 8, 2010

The car accident in Hudson, Florida at approximately 8:00 p.m. resulted in death of one triplet and serious injury to another as they were playing in the front yard of their home.  Delaney Rossman, 5, was playing with sisters, Gabrielle and Isabella, when 39-year-old Betty-Jo Tagerson struck a mailbox, hit a parked truck, and struck the girls.  Tagerson lives on the same street as the triplets.  After the impact, Tagerson was thrown from her vehicle while her vehicle kept going.  Tagerson was taken to St. Joseph's hospital with serious injuries.  Delaney was pronounced dead at the hospital while Gabrielle was taken to St. Joseph's in critical condition.  Isabella had minor injuries.  This accident is being treated by investigators as a criminal case.  Authorities are awaiting toxicology results.

This case is clearly a nightmare for the family of the triplets.  While Tagerson may have some explanation for what happened, the driver/owner of a motor vehicle have a responsibility to others to maintain in a safe condition and to operate it in a reasonable manner so as to not cause injury to others.  That is why motor vehicles are considered dangerous instrumentalities in Florida.  Based on the circumstances reported and what one might glean from the lifestyle of Tagerson, this is a case where justice will likely be limited to her insurance limits and possibly some personal assets.  While no amount of money can ever bring this child back or heal the wounds that this family will carry with them throughout life, this family may need to consult with a lawyer to navigate the different insurance policies and coverages available.  There should be a $5,000 PIP/no-fault death benefit that comes from the triplet's parents' policy.  There should also be bodily injury liability insurance limits belonging to Tagerson and/or the owner of the vehicle.  These limits will likely not cover all of Gabrielle's medical bills.  There is a proper way to structure the proceeds in a way that maximizes the amounts recovered by the claimants.  Furthermore, because the injuries are to children, a guardianship will be required by the court for any net amounts recovered above the amount of $15,000 per child.  A Central Florida personal injury or car accident lawyer can do these things in addition to negotiating the medical bills and/or medical liens down to a point where the recovery is maximized.  Depending on the toxicology results, this case may or may not involve intoxication.  If intoxication is found, then this case will likely result in DUI manslaughter (a felony) and felony DUI with serious bodily injury and property damage.  Florida law permits a plaintiff to sue for punitive damages when their injuries are the result of an intoxicated driver.  However, one must be careful when approaching these cases.  The allure of punitive damages may or may not be a wise move depending on the likelihood of obtaining personal assets of significant value that cannot be protected by bankruptcy.  This is yet another reason to consult a personal injury or car accident lawyer.  Even if intoxication is not found, the State may still charge Tagerson with a criminal traffic charge or reckless driving at a minimum.  A culpable negligence charge may also be appropriate under the circumstances.  At Moody Law, we handle personal injury and car accident cases.  If you or a loved one would like a free consultation with a Central Florida personal injury or car accident lawyer, please give us a call or visit us on the web at www.moodylaw.com for free information regarding auto accident cases.

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