Miami, Florida – Miami-Dade County has agreed to pay a record $ 4 million for the care of a girl whose spinal cord was torn off in a crash with a police cruiser driving at an intersection with a broken traffic light when a hurricane approached nearly six years ago.
The $ 3.8 million additional settlement is the largest claim the county has ever paid and far exceeds the original $ 200,000 the county has already paid to compensate Yaleen Kiroz Otter, according to the Miami Herald. But this is far from what she will need.
Much of the award will satisfy her past medical and legal bills, leaving less than $ 1.5 million for future medical bills. Her lawyers have estimated that she will need more than $ 11 million for lifelong care and deserves another $ 10 million for pain and suffering. But a special foreman found that her mother and the driver of their car were also to blame, reducing the county’s share of guilt.
The claim an account was signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis last Friday.
A 13-month-old baby was sitting on his mother’s lap while the family traveled to Walmart on Oct. 6, 2016, to pick up baby supplies when Hurricane Matthew approached Florida, the newspaper reported. Meanwhile, a Miami-Dade police officer was moving at 75 miles per hour in a 40-mile zone, chasing a suspect who jumped out of a stolen car and ran around the neighborhood.
The two vehicles collided at an intersection where traffic lights were not working due to a power outage caused by the approach of Hurricane Matthew.
The family’s lawsuit against the county department and the police was upheld three years later. Without pleading guilty, the county agreed to pay the $ 200,000 statutory limit and agreed not to challenge the $ 3.8 million bill, County Assistant Attorney General Richard Shavis said at a hearing before a special Florida legislature. The bill on legal requirements allows for compensation beyond the limits of immunity.
“It will matter to our client,” said attorney Frank Moderal. “With these funds, we hope she will be able to avoid being placed in a state nursing home when she turns 18, and will instead continue to receive nursing home care so she can continue to live with her family who loves her.” .
“We never gave up,” Maderal told the newspaper. “It was equally advocacy, politicking and praying for our client. In the end we set a record. This case and this client will always have a special place for me. “
Found by Senate Special Master Eva M. Davis County and Officer Daniel Escar is guilty of speeding under police policy when he headed to the crime scene and did not stop at an intersection with a broken light.
But she also found that the Audi driver and the girl’s mother were partly to blame for the girl’s injury. Hector Meraz-Funes did not have a valid driver’s license, was not wearing a seat belt, allowed eight people to drive without a seat belt in his compact sedan and had to succumb to the lights and sirens of a police car speeding. She found out that Fanny Otter was to blame for not fixing her daughter in a car seat.
Davis noted that Meraz-Funes has been in a vegetative state since the disaster, unable to move or communicate.