Tampa Bay Online has reported on a significant wrongful death verdict in Tampa. I congratulate counsel from Pinellas County who obviously presented a compelling case for the anguish of the family over this tragic loss.
“TAMPA – The parents of a motorcyclist who died in an accident with a tractor-trailer won a $15 million verdict in a trial that ended Wednesday.
About 4 p.m. on Oct. 31, Jeremy T. Vaughn, 24, of Cass Street, was on a southbound Yamaha on 50th Street, Florida Highway Patrol reports said. Frank Collura of Dade City pulled in front of him in a tractor-trailer. Vaughn did not have enough time to stop, the reports said.
Wil Florin and Thomas Roebig represented Vaughn’s parents, Joel and Debra Vaughn. Florin said the jury took less than an hour to return the verdict against two Minnesota companies, SL Trucking and West Bay Leasing. The $15 million was for pain and suffering, Florin said.”
In Florida and many other states a statute establishes the specific categories of losses or damages which each survivor or beneficiary may claim. Within the damages considered to be “non-economic” are subcategories, such as, mental anguish, bereavement, loss of comfort and society, and loss of consortium.
The obvious basis for the award of compensation for all of these is the quality of the relationship between the deceased and the particular survivor. For this reason, counsel needs to become intimately aware of the potential witnesses and evidence that would allow a jury to appreciate the relationship and, therefore, to have a sense of the emotional impact of the death. Family photographs, videos, letters and cards are frequently invaluable when used for this purpose.