Jose Fernandez's Estate Sued for Two Wrongful Death Claims
Hi I’m Brett Panter from the personal injury law firm of Panter, Panter & Sampedro. Today I’m here to talk to you about a terrible tragedy in our community. The loss of Jose Fernandez, a famous baseball player for the Marlins. You may know he died in a terrible boating accident, but what you may not know is two of his friends were on that boat also. Unfortunately, as things happen, there have been two lawsuits and they are called wrongful death lawsuits. Those young men, named Rivero and Macias, they were 25 and 27 years old. And as they every right to do, or as I should say more appropriately, their families, have brought what’s called wrongful death cases. Now, there’s two elements I’m going to talk briefly about. One is what needs to be proven to be compensated and then two what the compensation is in a wrongful death claim. Let’s talk about the first aspect. The first aspect is was there negligence on the person you’re bringing the case against. In this case it’s an estate because the baseball player Jose Fernandez died in the accident as well so these families have to bring a case against the estate of Jose Fernandez and in that case they have to prove that Jose Fernandez was negligent and that negligence contributed and caused the death of Rivero and Macias. Now there’s something as part of a defense, which is comparative negligence. We don’t know all the facts yet. If either Rivero or Macias was driving the boat, does that make a difference? And some would say yes and some would say no. I would tell you that the answer is most likely “yes” because if they were driving the boat, they would be contributory negligent. In other words, they would also be what’s also referred to as comparatively negligence. Their families’ ability to recover could be reduced by a certain percent for whatever the jury felt was their responsibility for the accident. The next thing is if there was alcohol and drugs involved, and they were involved in alcohol and drugs, they could also be held comparatively responsible for that. That doesn’t mitigate or relieve Jose Fernandez for his actions if he was involved in drinking and taking drugs and operating the boat. So it’s a mixed bag of events and facts that have to be proven, but for the estates of the two decedents to prove a case against the estate of Jose Fernandez, they must prove negligence and they will be in a battle with respect to comparative negligence. The next issue, is what can the families of Rivero and Macias recover and who can recover. If these young men were married, their spouses would have a claim. If they were not married and they had children, any of their true blood relatives or blood children, rather, children that they fathered, would have a claim whether they were married or not. If they were married and had children, of courses the spouses and the children would be able to bring a claim. If they were not married, their parents, their mothers and their fathers, if they were living, would then have a claim for their damages. What are the damages? The damages are mental pain and suffering for the loss of their loved ones. That’s the broken heart. The damages can be economic such as what’s referred to as net accumulations. In other words, what their earning capacity was and what they would have left after personal consumption. It’s just a brief synopsis of what the damages would be in a wrongful death case. This case appears to be one that is highly contested and with great emotion and great sadness. It’s unfortunate that three men died in this tragedy on the boat on the water right off Miami at the cut of Miami Beach. It was a tragedy and now it’s resulted as we’ve read about most recently in two wrongful death cases so I hope this brief synopsis gives you a bit of information about the complexities of wrongful death actions and also boat accidents.