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Motorcycle Accident on Deen Still Road Kills Two

Chris Russo Jan 3, 2011

Polk City, Florida.  Two motorcyclists were killed in a head-on collision on Deen Still Road when another vehicle entered their lane.  Judith Ann Sparks, 52, of Davenport, Florida (passenger) and 61-year-old man (driver) were riding a motorcycle west on Deen Still Road when their 1990 Honda Goldwing motorcycle was struck by a 1996 Saturn LS going eastbound.  This accident happened at approximately 9:00 a.m.  Both Sparks and the unidentified man were killed.  The driver of the Saturn was Shawn Douglas Crosswell, 19, of Lakeland, Florida.  He apparently told officials that he had lost control of his vehicle and went into the westbound lane with the motorcycle.  Both motorcyclists were wearing helmets.  This accident was investigated by the Florida Highway Patrol.

The real question here is why Mr. Crosswell lost control of his vehicle.  We can speculate that it was negligence and, if not admitted by his insurance company, will be decided by a jury in Polk County, Florida.  Regardless of whether he was playing with the radio, changing a CD, or doing something else in the car, cars do not simply go out of control on a straight, level, and otherwise open roadway.  While extremely unlucky for these motorcyclists, their estates have wrongful death claims to be brought on behalf of the survivors (who may be different from an heirs).  The survivors are defined by Florida law.  These survivors need to have probates opened and a personal representative appointed for each respective estate.  In Florida, only the personal representative has the legal authority and capacity to bring claims on behalf of the estate and survivors.  This means that even if the insurance company for Mr. Crosswell wants to dump their limits without question on the survivors, the survivors still need to open probates in order to be able to cash the check at a bank.  From experience, there is also a strong likelihood that there is not much insurance available to right the wrongs caused by this accident.  A 19-year-old driver is likely insolvent and likely only had the bare minimum insurance required by law.  In Florida, there is no obligation whatsoever to carry insurance on a motorcycle.  Based on the age of the motorcycle, there likely was not a loan on the motorcycle and, therefore, there is a possibility that there is no insurance.  In the event that there is no liability insurance, no assets from the tortfeasor, and no uninsured/underinsured motorists coverage or no-fault coverage, then this will truly be a sad case.  Insurance companies in Florida have lobbied for peculiar insurance laws.  This is precisely why all motor vehicles operated on the roadway should be covered by both bodily injury liability and property damage liability coverage.  I have seen way too many cases where the vehicles are covered by a collision or property damage policy but there is no insurance coverage whatsoever for bodily injury or wrongful death.  Further, even in cases with insurance, so many cases involve only a $10,000 liability limit.  These limits were established many years ago and are not current reflections of the damages that people oftentimes suffer in a serious accident.  It does very little justice to have no mandatory bodily injury insurance requirement or to allow people to drive with insignificant limits.  Anyone reading this article is urged to purchase adequate levels of uninsured/underinsured motorists coverage (UM) immediately.  I would suggest that limits of $100,000 per person and $300,000 per accident would be a minimum recommended amount of coverage if you have a job.  Personal injury lawyers at Moody Law are available to discuss the facts and circumstances of your case.  A consultation with a personal injury lawyer in Lakeland, Bartow, Winter Haven, and Polk County, Florida is free. 

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