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Wrongful Death Suit Filed for Woman Hit by Car

The family of a Florida woman is filing a wrongful death suit after she was involved in a car accident on September 13, 2013. Esther Ohayon, a Jewish Orthodox woman, was on her way to a Florida synagogue, when she was struck and killed by a car while attempting to cross an intersection. Ohayon and her daughter were unable to press the walk button to cross the intersection due to religious restrictions, which prevented them from performing certain activities, including generating electricity, on holy days. Because of this, they had to cross eight lanes of traffic in approximately 11 seconds. The women were then struck by a vehicle driven by Michael Fortunato. The Florida Highway Patrol conducted an investigation of the accident, and according to their investigation, the light had just turned green as the driver approached the intersection, however he had not slowed his vehicle as he approached the light when it was red. Orly Ohayon, who was also struck by the vehicle, has filed a negligence lawsuit, and her sister has filed a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the mother.

According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, there were 502 pedestrians killed in traffic accidents in 2013. Additionally, there was 1,562 incapacitating or serious injuries as well as 3,135 non-incapacitating injuries in the same year. The Florida Department of Transportation has reported that for the last four years, Florida ranked worst in the nation in pedestrian fatalities, and is currently ranked fifth worst in the country.

Understanding wrongful death suits

A wrongful death suit occurs when the negligence or wrongful acts of a party causes the death of another person. According to Florida Statutes section 678.18, when a person’s death is caused “by the wrongful act, negligence, default, or breach of contract” of another person or some entity, the estate of the deceased person may bring a civil suit in Florida courts, seeking a legal remedy for that individual’s death, and the losses stemming from it.

Who can bring a wrongful death suit?

Florida law requires that the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate file a wrongful death suit. A personal representative may be named in the will of the deceased, or a personal representative will be appointed by the court if no such person is named in a will. Although the suit itself is filed by the personal representative, the lawsuit is filed on behalf of the deceased person’s estate as well as any surviving family members. The lawsuit should list every survivor who has an interest in the case. In Florida, family members that may recover under a wrongful death suit include the deceased person’s spouse, children, and parents, as well as any blood relative or adoptive sibling who is “partly or wholly dependent on the decedent for support or services.”

Contact a Florida Personal Injury Attorney for Help

If you or someone you know has been injured in any type of accident or fall, you need an experienced personal injury attorney representing you. Consult with an attorney who can advise you on your case. Contact the Clearwater attorneys at Roman & Roman, P.A. for a consultation and to learn how we can be of assistance.

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