George Snyder, 84, was killed in a Boca Raton, Florida a car accident when he was allegedly struck by Jill Roberts, 31. The elderly man died at Delray Medical Center on Thursday afternoon. The car accident occurred on Friday, March 2. It appears that Jill Roberts did not sustain any serious injuries in the accident and was released from West Boca Medical Center after being treated for minor injuries. No charges have yet been filed against her.
Based on my analysis of the known facts reported in the media, I believe that George Snyder’s family may be entitled to some very substantial compensation for his death.
It seems clear to me that Jill Roberts was responsible for causing the accident and is therefore responsible for compensating its victim… in this case, the surviving family of Mr. Snyder.
Clearly this case involves a terrible tragedy and even if Jill Roberts did not intend to do any harm, the law may still hold her accountable for running the red light.
According to media reports, the car accident occurred at the intersection of Boca Chase Drive and State Road 7. Snyder was making a left turn from Boca Chase Drive onto State Road 7 at a green light in his 2012 Hyundai when Jill Roberts ran a red light going southbound on State Road 7 in her 2011 Ford and broadsided his vehicle. The crash trapped Snyder in his car, and emergency officials had to extricate him from the vehicle. Both Roberts and Snyder were wearing their seatbelts, and officials do not suspect that DUI or drug abuse was a factor in the car crash.
To be successful in an injury lawsuit, an injury attorney must have three basic things in any case he/she takes on.
First, the victim must have sustained some quantifiable injury. When death is caused, injury is obvious. The question is one of valuation. Pain and suffering, economic losses, lost support from spouses and other dependents, etc.
Second, an injury lawyer must be able to prove that the victim’s injuries were caused by the negligence of another. Negligence occurs when a person breaches a duty to act or refrain from acting in a certain way. More on this point will be discussed later.
Third, the responsible party or parties must have adequate insurance coverage or assets to satisfy any out of court settlement or court judgment.
Since this case resulted in the death of George Snyder, it is clear that the injury element of a winning case is satisfied. Based on the evidence presented so far in the news, it also sounds like Jill Roberts acted negligently when she ran the red light and crashed into Mr. Snyder’s car. For that reason, I think it is equally clear that the negligence aspect of a winning case is also satisfied, unless of course new information comes forward that proves the contrary.
Satisfying these two elements puts a potential claimant well ahead of the litigation “game,” however, the case will be worth nothing, unless the third element is also satisfied.
In other words, the question in this case comes down to whether or not Jill Roberts has sufficient insurance or assets to satisfy any out of court settlement or court ordered judgment.
To the extent that she does have insurance coverage for automobile liability, an out of court settlement with insurance companies would be the most probable outcome. However, if she does not have adequate insurance, the question of whether or not she has adequate assets will become an issue.
In my experience, people without insurance typically have no appreciable assets.
First and foremost, the family must mourn their loss. Legal issues aside, George Snyder’s death is a tragedy that undoubtedly is affecting many people.
From a legal standpoint, the next step would be to hire an injury lawyer to represent the family through this process and during their dealings with insurance companies, investigators, adjustors, and other lawyers.
Building a winning case starts early.
Injury lawyers must work diligently to put together all three aspects of a winning case. This will include obtaining police reports, witness statements, crash reports, and other important evidence.
From there, injury attorneys can identify the legal issues and start working on strategy.
As was mentioned earlier, this case involves a terrible, terrible accident. No amount of money or litigation in court will ever make that right.
It is also another example of the terrible things that can happen when motorists fail to pay attention and follow the rules of the road. Automobiles are dangerous things and its easy to take their awesome power for granted, simply because we use them everyday.
In any event, my condolences go out to George Snyder’s family. I wish them as best a recovery as is possible, given the circumstances.