Trevino v. Mobley, 63 So. 3d 865 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2011)

This case in out of Central Florida involved a claim for wrongful death brought by the parents of a victim in an automobile accident. The lawsuit named both the driver of the vehicle that killed the victim and the owners of the vehicle he was driving, his parents, as the defendants. In Florida, owners of vehicles can be held liable to victims of auto accidents under the ‘Dangerous Instrumentality Doctrine’.

The negligence claim that originated this lawsuit stemmed from the horrific accident that took the life of Heather Mobley in July of 2006. The twenty-one year old victim was instantly killed when the Ford two-door car she was driving was crushed by an oncoming Hummer SUV. The H2 Hummer was driven by twenty-one year old Javier Trevino, and the vehicle itself was registered to Trevino’s parents, Joel and Maria Trevino. It was reported that Trevino was operating the large SUV at high rates of speed, without the use of headlights at night, and illegally overtaking other vehicles on the road.

After this horrible tragedy, Rita Mobley, the mother of the victim as well as the representative of her estate, pursued a lawsuit against Trevino’s parents and Trevino for wrongful death. A judgment was ultimately rendered in favor of the victim.

There is nothing worse than losing a loved one because of someone else’s negligent conduct. Wrongful death lawsuits are generated when someone or something causes a negligent killing of a person. Wrongful death cases can be extremely complex, and may involve lengthy litigation. Knowing that there is no dollar amount that can ever replace your loved one, it is still extremely important know your rights.

Accidental and wrongful death lawsuits deal with certain laws, including negligent tort actions and probate laws. These areas of law require a thorough understanding of all aspects with them. Florida law allows family members of victims in a wrongful death action to recover for their loss. Surviving family members, including spouses, children, parents and siblings, can be compensated for the loss of their loved one when a proper case for wrongful death is established. This is why is of the utmost importance to contact a legal professional immediately to discuss your options.

Essentially, if a person acts wrongfully, negligently, or is in breach of a specific duty owed to another person, and their actions cause death to another, surviving family members have a right of action against that person. The way to look to see if a wrongful death claim can be filed, is to look at the event that transpired. If the victim had not died as a result of the actions of the other person, would that victim have had a possible claim for personal injury against the alleged defendant? If the answer is yes, then there is a strong chance that family members could hold that person liable for causing the death of their loved one.

Florida has enacted a ‘Wrongful Death Act,’ Statutes 768.16 through 768.26, which covers all aspects and elements to properly filing claims for wrongful death.

If you have been in a car accident involving a wrongful death and have questions, then please contact the Fort Lauderdale office of Madalon Law for a free consultation.