What are the Legal Rights of Injured Children and of Parents Who Lose a Child as a Result of a “Running the Red Light” Automobile Accident?

Red Light Automobile Accident.001In Jacksonville, Florida and other cities, traffic signals serve an important purpose.  When drivers ignore traffic signals, serious automobile accidents can take place that cause horrific personal injuries and even the wrongful death of innocent drivers and passengers.  Section 316.075 (1) (c), Florida Statutes mandates that a driver facing a steady red signal (red traffic light) shall stop and remain stopped until a green light or green arrow is shown.  While this a fairly simple statute and rule of the road, it is quite amazing and disturbing how often this statute is violation.  This, in turn, can disrupt and even end the lives of others who are following the rules of the road and otherwise operating their motor vehicles in a safe and prudent manner.
It was recently reported that there was an automobile accident at the intersection of St. Johns Bluff and Beach Boulevard in Jacksonville, Florida.  It was reported by local media outlets and the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office that a woman driving a Nissan SUV ignored a red light and proceeded at a high rate of speed.  Thereafter the vehicle crossed over a median and crashed into a Honda vehicle and a commercial vehicle and another passenger vehicle. Tragically, a young man (Denny Grahovic), who was only 18 years old at the time of the crash, died as a result of the accident related personal injuries.  Two other Honda passengers, who were also teenagers, were transported to a local hospital with significant injuries.   See Crash Ends Life of One Teenager and Results in Serious Personal Injuries to Others in Jacksonville, Florida. 
Based on the facts reported, it does not appear that Denny Grahovic was negligent in any manner.  Since there was a death that resulted from this crash, JSO and possibly the Florida Highway Patrol will conduct a detailed traffic homicide investigation to determine the cause and preventability of the crash.
When there is a death of a person resulting from the negligence of another person, there can be a Florida wrongful death action brought by the surviving parents.  Under the Florida Wrongful Death Act, a minor child is defined as a child under the age of 25 years old.  As such, parents can still bring a wrongful death case as statutory survivors of adult children.  As a statutory survivor, a parent can seek damages for loss of support and services, loss of companionship and protection, and mental pain and suffering.
When a child is injured as a result of an automobile accident case, the parents can bring a claim or case on behalf of the child as the natural guardians of the child.  A personal injury case or claim on behalf of an injured child  involves the pursuit of damages for past and future medical bills, pain, suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, mental anguish, and other damages.
There are a number of legal and practical issues that arise in most automobile accident cases.  One such issue involves the availability and amount of automobile insurance coverage in place.  There may be sources of compensation to the injured child and his or her parents from more than one automobile insurance policy.  It is important determine the amount of coverage.  It should be noted that automobile insurance companies are well represented by adjusters, investigators, risk managers, and, yes, attorneys.  Because of this, it is important for parents of injured children to seek out and obtain legal representation early in the process.  There are a number of challenges that arise in most every case.
David A. Wolf is an experienced child injury attorney who handles cases throughout the State of Florida.  He is the author of 10 books including the book titled – When the Wheels Stop Spinning – Legal Rights of the Injured Child – What Parents Need to Know After the Accident. You can get this book for free at Wheels Stop Spinning. He is also the author of the book titled When a Parent’s World Goes from Full to Empty – The Wrongful Death of a Child – What You Need to Know About The Florida Wrongful Death Act. You can get this book for free at From Full to Empty.
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