Ruling in favor of the plaintiffs, a jury has awarded $3 million to Ann Prushansky’s children for her Palm Beach County wrongful death in a Boynton Beach car crash in 2008. Because the jury members determined the 70-year-old mom to be 25% at fault for the deadly collision, the award has been reduced to $2.25 million.
The driver of the vehicle that rear-ended Prushansky’s vehicle, then-17-year-old Patrice Fradley, was initially charged with DUI manslaughter and other offenses. However, because a judge decided that blood tests were administered illegally, the criminal charges against her were dropped. While the jury was not told about the blood test results, they were made aware that Fradley had said that she took Xanax and alcohol on the day of the Palm Beach County traffic crash.
Although Fradley’s attorney claimed that Prushansky would not have died if she’d been wearing a seat belt, the family’s Florida injury lawyer countered that the older woman was buckled up. He also disputed the defense’s claim that because Prushansky had been involved in another just before Fradley’s car struck her, the younger driver did not have enough time to stop to avoid causing the deadly crash.
Florida Injury Law
Florida personal injury law follows the comparative negligence rule. This means that any damage award is reduced by whatever percentage of fault-if any-that is placed on the victim for causing the accident. Unlike in a criminal case, where the state has to prove that someone is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, the burden of proof for proving liability in a civil case is lower. The plaintiff only has to prove that the majority of evidence showed that the defendant is responsible. This means that even if someone isn’t found guilty in criminal court, he/she could still be ordered to pay damages in civil court.
Children awarded $2.25 million in crash that killed mother in Boynton Beach, Sun-Sentinel, March 15, 2011
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Drunk Driver in 2009 Miami-Dade Truck Crash that Killed Three Kids Could End Up in Jail for 45 Years, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, February 18, 2011
Driver in Palm Beach County Car Accident that Caused the Death of 10-Year-Old Loxahatchee Girl May Have Been Drunk, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, October 12, 2010