Medical Emergency Causes Driver To Crash Into Home On Carter Road

Car Accidents

A sudden medical emergency caused Robert S. Bodolay of Lakeland, Florida to lose control of his car and crash into the garage of a home near Carter Road on January 31, 2017.  The accident happened in the morning hours as Bodolay’s vehicle went off the shoulder of the roadway, through more than one yard, and hitting the garage door of 1001 Shadowbrook Drive North in South Lakeland.  Bodolay was driving a 2007 Acura.  Damage to the home is estimated by the Polk County Sheriff’s Office to be approximately $9,500.

Driver’s Injuries Covered By No-Fault Insurance

First and foremost, everyone involved in a car accident in Florida is provided with $10,000 per person in “Personal-Injury-Protection” insurance that comes from their own automobile insurance policy.  This is called “no-fault” insurance in Florida.  This coverage is mandatory by Florida statute and no automobile insurance policy can be sold in Florida without it.  This coverage cannot be rejected to save money on premiums.

Property Damage Liability Coverage Payable To Damaged Homeowner

Florida law also requires that every automobile insurance policy sold have coverage for property damage liability of at least $10,000.  This is part of Florida’s financial responsibility law and is also a mandatory coverage that cannot be rejected (unless you go self-insured, which is never recommended).  This coverage may be enough to cover the damages to the yards, fences, and the garage that was damaged.  From the photograph, it looks like the home did not suffer any structural damage, however, this determination is normally made by an engineer.

A permit is required in Lakeland and in Polk County to replace a garage door.  As such, a city or county building inspector will be required to sign off on whether there is any structural damage to the home.  If at all possible, the homeowner should have the repair made before signing a release to Bodolay and his insurance company.  Once a release is signed, the homeowner cannot go back and recover expenses that were not accounted for such as building inspection fees or a review by a civil engineer.  While homeowner’s coverage may be available for the homeowner, there is more often than not a cost prohibitive deductible to coverage for casualty losses such as this.  The homeowner should aim to keep all repairs within the automobile coverage if possible.

Driver May Challenge Liability

The crazy thing (or not so crazy thing) about a case such as this is that liability coverage only pays in the event of negligence.  it does not pay for intentional conduct or conduct for which the driver was not negligent (but still happened anyway).  There is a long history of legal cases that find no legal liability in the event of a sudden medical emergency.  The right thing for the driver to tell his insurance company in this case is that he felt ill while driving but thought that he could make it safely to where he was going.  This would allow the homeowner to have coverage for his claim.  If a lawsuit must be filed, the homeowner should plead this in the complaint as part of negligence.

As mentioned above, a defense of a sudden and unexpected medical emergency may not be legally valid if medical warn the driver against driving or the hazards associated with it, if the driver had experienced similar symptoms before, or if the driver had the opportunity to pull over and stop before the condition worsened to a point where the driver lost consciousness and control of the vehicle.  These actions will all put the driver back on the hook for legal liability.

Call A Lakeland Car Accident Attorney To Talk About Your Case

If you have been injured or suffered damage as a result of a car accident in Lakeland, you should contact a Lakeland car accident attorney for an appointment to discuss your case.  An appointment with an attorney at Russo Law is free and you are under no obligation to sign.



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January 31, 2017