Are the state's liability insurance limits inadequate in Florida?
NORTH FORT MYERS, Fla. -
A little over a year ago a Florida Highway Patrol trooper crashed into the back of a car, severely injuring a 28 year old mother and killing her unborn baby. While the family continues down their road to recovery, tonight Four In Your Corner's Dave Culbreth is learning of a financial flaw within the state that could have drained their bank account.
You would think that if you were to get into a serious accident with a state owned vehicle, you'd be better off financially than if you were injured by someone in a private vehicle right?. Wrong, and I'm showing you why.
"We lost our baby and there's no money in the world that will ever compensate you for that but we still should have at least got something more than what we got," said Christopher McClure, who's family was devastated by the crash.
It was a year ago this month that the McClure's were driving down I-75 when a FHP trooper was checking his emails on the computer in his cruiser and rear-ended them while going 90 miles an hour. "We had a husband and wife severely injured and we had a child killed and the most that they could get from the State of Florida was $300,000," said Liz Kagan, who is the McClure's attorney. "That's the total regardless of how many people are in the accident."
That's because a Florida Highway Patrol car is owned by the state of Florida, which can not be sued for more than $300,000. That may sound like a lot, but Kagan says, "Their medical bills were over $500,000." So, what did they do? "Since the officer was driving the car in an off duty role he had to have individual insurance of the same limit of $200,000/$300,000 as the state. So we were able to get both of those policies but it was still woefully inadequate for the injuries that they suffered."
Crystal McClure has been trying to recover ever since and is learning how to walk again. "Florida should get away from this 'no fault' state because when tragic things like this happen you get a lot of doctors bill racked up and that doesn't compensate you for nothing," explained McClure.
In addition to all this, their unborn child was killed in the crash. The McClure's have one picture of their baby. It's the only picture they will ever have. It was taken by a nurse at the Lee Memorial Trauma Center. "The hospitals and the physicians, they did an amazing job taking care of her," added Kagan. "She has both of her legs today because of what they did."
Kagan went on to say that Lee Memorial worked with her on the negotiations to make sure that the McClures got something out of the accident. They are now living in a new home on some land in North Fort Myers and are expecting another child.