Accident On Way To Graduation Ceremony At Mulberry High School

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Two teenagers from Polk County, Florida died in a car accident on the way to a graduation ceremony on May 25, 2017 at Mulberry High School.  Pepe Salgado and Frinzi Salgado-Diaz died from injuries in crash.  They were riding as passengers in a 2002 Toyota Corolla driven by Edilberto Nava-Marcos.  Nava-Marcos is reported to be in critical condition.

The accident was reported that Mr. Nava-Marcos made an improper left hand turn on SR39 directly in front of a 2015 Honda Civic driven by Danisia Fontanez at the intersection of Trapnell Road.  A child riding a passenger in Fontanez’s vehicle sustain minor injuries.

Help For The Families Of The Deceased

Burying a child is something that no parent ever wants to do.  Having to do so because of a car accident and dealing with the insurance company can make it worse.  Many people, especially those who have never been in a car accident before, are not aware of the benefits available under the automobile insurance policy and may not know how those benefits work.

The first thing to know about the insurance available is that there will be a $5,000 no-fault death benefit available under some automobile insurance policy.  The first place to look is that Salgado family’s own insurance policy.  The reason for this is because Florida is a no-fault state.  Odds are that the Salgado’s have a car insured by a family member living in their household.  That auto policy will become primary for purposes of no-fault coverage.

Secondly, this is a liability claim.  This means that any bodily injury liability coverage on the Toyota Corolla should be available to pay claims against Mr. Nava-Marcos for the accident.  Over the years, I have met a number of people who are reluctant to accept a settlement from the insurance company on behalf of a friend or family member for a liability.  It should be known that the purpose of insurance is to provide in times of loss as is the case here.  This insurance money is meant for the survivors and the injured.

With that being said, the insurance situation in this case is likely going to become complicated because there likely is not enough money to go around between the survivors of the deceased and the injured child.  In Florida, a passenger can sue the driver of the car they are riding in as a passenger much the same way a person in another vehicle can after an accident.

Multiple Parties To Same Insurance Policy

In this particular case, it is possible that Mr. Nava-Marcos’s insurance company may be compelled to settle with the wrongful death claimants leaving nothing for the injured child (see Farinas v. Florida Farm Bureau)  I would hope that Ms. Fontanez has underinsured motorists (UM) coverage on her automobile policy to cover this situation.  It is important to mention that UM coverage normally covers all “resident relative household members.”

Despite the potential complications, this is a case where Mr. Nava-Marcos’s insurance company should collectively offer policy limits.

Contact A Lakeland Car Accident Attorney For Help With Your Case

If you need help with your Polk County car accident case, you should contact a Lakeland car accident attorney discuss how a personal injury can help.  A consultation with an attorney is free.


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May 26, 2017