Deputy Causes Wrongful Death in Pedestrian Accident
When Fernando Roman saw the debris, flashing lights and emergency vehicles on West Oak Ridge Road on Monday morning, he had no idea that it was the spot where his wife had been run over by a police deputy only a few hours earlier. Susan Roman, survived by her two daughters and husband, was hit around 3:15 a.m.
According to the police reports, Florida Highway Patrol troopers stated that Mrs. Roman had been walking southbound across West Oak Ridge Road early that morning and was not in a crosswalk at the time of the crash. Her husband corroborated that his wife usually walks to nearby stores around that time for exercise.
A witness stated that he saw Mrs. Roman cross the street. At that time, he saw a marked Orange County sheriff’s patrol car behind him with the lights flashing. Once that car passed, a second patrol vehicle driven by Deputy Eric Rivera, 38, also drove past. However, his car’s lights and siren were both off. The patrol car driven by Deputy Rivera hit Mrs. Roman, who was standing in the bidirectional turn lane.
Upon impact, Mrs. Roman was thrown into the side of the witness’ pickup truck. She was taken to Orlando Regional Medical Center, where she was later pronounced dead. No other injuries were reported, and Orange County sheriff’s policy gives deputies discretion when deciding whether to use the lights and siren. The witness stated that he clearly saw the woman in the road before the crash.
Deputy Rivera did not give a statement at the time of the accident. He has been reassigned to administrative duties while the incident is investigated. The Sheriff’s Office confirmed that Deputy Rivera’s car did not have a dashboard camera attached.
Florida Wrongful Death
Actions for wrongful death are dictated by Florida’s Wrongful Death Act. Under the law, wrongful death is defined as a civil action made by the survivors of a victim who has passed away due to any “wrongful act, negligence, default, or breach of contract or warranty.” The definition includes both intentional and negligent acts. The law allows survivors to file a lawsuit seeking monetary damages to provide compensation for relatives who relied on the victim for financial and emotional support.
Wrongful Death Damages in Florida
The Florida Wrongful Death Act allows for two types of damages to be recovered in these types of accidents. The first type of compensation is what the victim’s survivors may recover. Survivors include the spouse, children, parents, or anyone else that is sufficiently close to the victim. These types of damages include:
- Lost support and services;
- Loss of companionship and protection;
- Pain and suffering;
- Lost parental companionship, instruction, and guidance; and
- Medical and funeral expenses.
The second type of compensation that can be collected is to the victim’s estate. The kinds of damages that can be collected for the estate include:
- Loss of net accumulations;
- Lost earnings; and
- Medical and funeral expenses.
In the case of a wrongful death that is particularly heinous or grossly negligent, the court may decide to award punitive damages. This type of compensation is above and beyond what is normally collected and given to the victim’s family as a deterrent to other people who may consider doing something similar in the future.
Call a Florida Wrongful Death Lawyer Today
If your loved one has been killed by the intentional or negligent act of another in Orlando, Tampa, Jacksonville, Fort Myers, or West Palm Beach, let the experienced wrongful death lawyers at The Pendas Law Firm help. We are prepared to assist you in any way that we can.