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The Matassini Law Firm, P.A. Your trusted legal advisors since 1976

Dual Fatal Car Crash in Tampa


Investigators say that alcohol probably caused a rollover collision which killed two people in an accident near Ybor City.

The wreck happened near the intersection of North 15th Street and East 21st Avenue. Authorities state that 47-year-old Roberto Diaz was intoxicated when he drove on the wrong side of the road, clipped several parked cars, and finally flipped his Ford F-150 over another vehicle. First responders used the jaws of life to extricate Diaz and his passenger from the pickup. Both men were declared dead at the scene.

Neither Diaz nor 62-year-old Alejandro Ocampo were wearing seat belts.

I Sue (On Behalf of) Dead People

If the tortfeasor (negligent driver) does not survive a car crash, the victim/plaintiff must file a claim against the estate. Strict time deadlines apply. If the claim is filed too late, the victim may lose all right of recovery.

Wrongful death claims, however, are often significantly different from ordinary negligence claims. The same legal theories apply, but only the estate administrator or a very close relative may bring an action. Florida law also limits damages in these cases to pecuniary losses, an umbrella term which includes compensation for:

  • Medical bills related to the decedent’s final illness or injury,
  • Decedent’s pain and suffering.
  • Funeral and burial expenses,
  • Lost future financial support, and
  • Lost future emotional support.

Survivors usually are not entitled to damages for their own grief and suffering, unless the decedent was a child. To obtain such compensation, a Tampa personal injury attorney may be able to file a separate claim under a theory like negligent infliction of emotional distress.

Insurance Company Defenses in Florida Car Crash Cases

It’s important for anyone filing a personal injury lawsuit in Florida to understand what arguments the defendant insurance company might make. Generally, the defendant will start by saying that he wasn’t negligent and didn’t cause the plaintiff’s injuries. But the defendant could also take a more aggressive approach. For example, the defendant may raise an affirmative defense to defeat the claim entirely or to mitigate liability or lessen the severity of the money damages.

According to Rule 1.110(d) of the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure, affirmative defenses must be raised when pleading to a preceding pleading. The facts of your claim will determine what defenses may be applicable. An experienced attorney will explain what to expect in your personal injury case.

The Seat Belt Defense in Florida

The Sunshine State is one of the few jurisdictions which recognizes the so-called seat belt defense. All other states (except New Hampshire) have mandatory seat belt laws, but most of these states do not allow evidence of seat belt non-use in accident claims. But in Florida, insurance companies may use such evidence to reduce or deny compensation.

To establish this defense in court, insurance company lawyers must do more than cite safety statistics about seat belt use. The insurance company must prove that:

  • The victim voluntarily did not put on a seat belt, and
  • Failure to use a seatbelt proximately caused the victim’s injuries.

Many seat belts are at least partially defective. Additionally, many parents secure their children in car seats, but they do not use the seat properly. These claims are quite complex.

Work with Assertive Lawyers

Even seemingly straightforward car crashes have many factual and legal intricacies. For a free consultation with an experienced Tampa car accident attorney, contact Matassini Law Firm, P.A. You have a limited amount of time to act.


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