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Motorcyclist Killed in SR 17 Accident

Chris Russo Mar 22, 2011

Richard Neil Branca, 54, of Babson Park, Florida died as a result of injuries suffered in an accident with a 1988 Jeep Grand Cherokee driven by Donna L. Wise, 48.  The accident happened as Branca turned on his left turn signal to make a left hand turn and Wise struck the rear-end of his motorcycle.  At the time of the accident, Branca was apparently slowing down to make the turn.  This incident occurred at approximately 4:30 p.m. on Friday on SR 17.  Branca was not wearing a helmet and died at the scene.

The report in The Ledger paints the picture that Wise was likely 100% at fault for this deadly accident.  While Wise could have worn a helmet, Florida law does not require a motorcycle rider to wear a helmet.  Based on my experience, there is also a strong probably of limited insurance available on this claim.  There is no requirement in Florida that motorcycles carry insurance.  Further, based on the age and description of the Jeep Cherokee, it is likely that there is very limited insurance available to pay damages to the survivors of the deceased.  The family of the deceased should take a look at whether they are entitled to a $5,000 death benefit from a personal injury protection policy that might apply to Branca.  It is also unfortunate that there may not be any liability insurance for this wrongful death because Florida does not require drivers of cars to carry bodily injury liability coverage (onl PIP and property damage are required).  While it is true that the driver of a motor vehicle who does not carry BI coverage can have their license suspended, doing so requires a civil judgment.  The reality of this matter is that no attorney is going to be able to get civil judgment on a contingency fee unless there is something to collect.  This is precisely why everyone should carry uninsured/underinsured motorist's coverage (UM).  UM is available on both cars and motorcycles.  For more information, please contact a personal injury or wrongful death attorney at Moody Law.  A Polk County personal injury or wrongful death attorney from Moody Law is available for a free consultation.

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