After a 4 day trial in Orlando, Florida, the Shaked Law Firm obtained a $12,240,000.00 verdict on behalf of a family that lost their mother as a result of a tragic head-on automobile collision. The trial team consisted of: Sagi Shaked, Joel Roth, Manny Lorenzana and Iury Carvalho.
Unfortunately, Roitiki Tyler only got to see her star athlete son play one college game. Tyler was accompanied by her 11-year-old who flew from Florida to Iowa to watch Devontre Tyler play middle linebacker in a Saturday game in November 2014. The following night, Tyler was driving home when a Ford F-150 truck hit them head-on at 65 mph. The mother of two died. Her young son survived Tyler without physical injuries, but whose subsequent emotional traumatization led an Orange County jury to award them with $12.2 million earlier this month.
“She was super close to her children,” said plaintiffs’ attorney Sagi Shaked of the Shaked Law Firm in Aventura. Joshua Loren Bell, the Ford driver, admitted liability for the crash. He had been driving on the wrong side of the two-lane road trying to pass three cars, having thought that the two lanes went in the same direction, Shaked said.
Bell was making the three-hour journey to Arcadia from his home in DeBary to work for the construction company Gibbs & Register Inc., which should make the company responsible for damages, Shaked and his colleague Joel Roth argued in a pretrial motion.
Gibbs & Register countered that Bell’s work didn’t start until Monday morning and that therefore he was not within the domain of his employment during the Sunday night drive. The plaintiffs’ counsel disagreed: the company was paying for Bell’s hotel that night in addition to have had accepted Bell’s workers’ compensation claim for his own injuries. The Orange Circuit Judge Janet Thorpe granted summary judgment finding Gibbs & Register liable, making non-economic damages the last thing to determine at trial.
Gibbs & Register was represented by Daniel Shapiro and Elizabeth Tosh of Cole, Scott & Kissane in Tampa. Bell was represented by Charles McKeon of the Law Offices of Charles E. McKeon in Tampa. The defense attorneys did not respond to a request for comment. The jury’s $12.24 million award included $4.54 million for the younger son’s past and future emotional distress over the crash; $4.2 million for the loss of his mother’s companionship, instruction and guidance; and $3.5 million for Devontre’a Tyler’s loss.
According to Shaked, “It really destroyed the older son, the fact that he was so close with his mom – the younger son refuses to talk about it.”
The defense argued the boy, now 13, had behavioral issues in school even before the crash and that his grades had actually improved since 2014. The attorneys further argued that the teen’s remaining parent was providing the majority of the support.
Shaked said an insurance policy for the company can cover the entire amount. Shaked said he believed the jury grasped the emotional impact of losing a parent and knew a child’s report card couldn’t paint the whole picture. “I think the defense just didn’t understand the human aspect of it,” he said. “These are human beings that lost their mother. The fact that they could never, ever have a conversation with Mom or get a hug from Mom or have a cup of coffee with Mom, I think that was huge.”
If you have questions about car accident cases, the experienced personal injury attorneys at Shaked Law Firm are happy to answer your questions. We offer free consultations for anyone who is considering filing a case after a car, truck, or motorcycle accident and are happy to chat with you about litigation basics, or any other questions you might have.
We maximize the compensation for our clients by carefully analyzing all aspects of the case. Call 877-529-0080 today for a free consultation.