This is not my case. Abigail Dougherty was 20-year-old student at the University of Florida. A truck (owned by WCA of Florida) struck and killed Abigail.
Abigail was survived by her father Pat, and her mother Anita. Her parents hired a wrongful death lawyer.
The attorney claimed that the collision happened in a dedicated crosswalk.
Why does it matter if a bicyclist is hit while in a crosswalk?
If a bike rider is in a crosswalk, he or she might not be at fault for the accident.
The parents’ attorney claimed that the crash occurred while Abigail was riding her bicycle from her home to work.
Pat and Anita sued WCA OF Florida. They claimed that the vehicle driver, Mr. Danzy, was careless and negligent in hitting Abigail.
Abigail’s parents sued WCA of Florida for their mental pain and suffering as a result of Abigail’s injury and death. The parents were allowed to sue for pain and suffering since Abigail was under 25 years old when she died.
If Abigail was 25 or older when she died, the parents would have only been allowed to sue for pain and suffering if Abigail wasn’t married.
If Abigail would’ve been 25 or older and married, her parents wouldn’t have been able to sue for pain and suffering. Instead, her husband would’ve had a claim for his pain and suffering.
WCA blamed Abigail for trying to overtake the truck on its right side. They claimed that the truck was making a signaled right turn at an intersection.
WCA’s attorneys argued that Abigail was riding her bicycle in its blind spots and very close to the truck. WCA argued that Abigail failed to yield to the truck as she rode past it.
Each side hired expert witnesses. I imagine that each side spent several thousands of dollars on expert witnesses.
Bicycle Riders Parents Entitled to 80% of Verdict
On October 5, 2018, an Alachua County jury found that the garbage truck company was 80% liable for Abigail’s death. The jury found that Abigail was 20% responsible for the accident.
Therefore, her parents are only entitled to 80% of the verdict.
The jury found that at the time of the accident, Abigail was not under the influence of any cocaine or alcohol to the extent that her normal faculties were impaired. They also found that she didn’t have a blood alcohol level of .08 or higher.
What would’ve happened if the jury would’ve found that her normal faculties were impaired by cocaine or alcohol?
The jury would have then been asked if the influence of alcohol or cocaine caused Abigail to be more 50% fault for her death.
If the jury would’ve said yes, then Abigail’s parents would’ve have gotten no compensation for pain and suffering. Zero!
Each parent was awarded $12.5 million for pain and suffering from Abigail’s injury and death. This is a big pain and suffering award for the death of a minor child. Some of the biggest pain and suffering settlements are from accidents where a child is killed.
I expect the trucking company to ask the trial judge to reduce the award.
If the judge refuses to reduce the award, I think the garbage truck company will appeal the verdict. They will likely ask the appeals court to reduce the pain and suffering award.
Once the parents’ attorney filed a motion for final judgment, court records will likely say the name of the insurance company for the truck. We may even find out how much bodily injury liability (BIL) insurance was on the truck.
Truck Company May Be Able to Pay the Whole Verdict
WCA appears to be a big company. They may have the money to pay the entire verdict. In most car accident cases, the at fault driver doesn’t have enough insurance to pay for the full value of a death case.
Parents are often stuck with $10,000 or $20,000 in BIL insurance.
The bike rider’s parents may have been entitled to a $5,000 PIP death benefit. If Abigail owned a car in Florida, her car’s insurance company would have paid a $5,000 PIP death benefit to her parents.
If she didn’t own a car, her parents’ car insurance company may have paid a $5,000 death benefit to her parents. This assumes that her parents owned a car in Florida.
How Would This Case Have Been Different If the Bike Rider Would’ve Been Hit by an Uber or Lyft Driver?
Abigail’s parents would’ve likely been forced to settle for less if she would’ve been hit by an Uber or Lyft driver.
Because at best, Lyft or Uber would’ve had a $1 million insurance policy. And that assumes that the Uber or Lyft driver was engaged in a ride.
If the Uber or Lyft driver had the app on, but wasn’t engaged in a ride, the insurance would’ve limited at $50,000. I’m referring to Uber or Lyft’s insurance.
Abigail’s parents could’ve also made an underinsured motorist claim. This assumes that they had uninsured motorist insurance.
The case number for the Dougherty’s lawsuit is 01-17-CA-1288.
Was your family member killed or injured in an accident or incident? Were you injured in an accident?
We want to represent you!
Our Miami law firm represents people injured anywhere in Florida in car accidents and many other types of accidents.
Call Us Now!
Call us now at (888) 594-3577 to find out for FREE if we can represent you. We answer calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
No Fees or Costs if We Do Not Get You Money