Tragic Florida Wrongful Death Crash Highlights Difficulty In Computing Future Wage Loss
I was so saddened to read in the Orlando Sentinel about a devastating head-on crash that occurred on Interstate 275 in Tampa last weekend.
Apparently the driver of a white Ford SUV was traveling at an extremely high rate of speed in the wrong direction on I-275 near the Busch Boulevard exit, which is in the vicinity of the University of South Florida. Traveling in the correct direction on the highway was a 2010 Hyundai which contained four students from USF, including the driver, Freedom High School graduate and Orlando native, Jobin Kuriakose. The students were all members of the Sigma Beta Rho fraternity at USF, where Mr. Kuriakose was apparently referred to as “Brother Ambition.”
My first thought after reading about this crash is, obviously, how tragic this is. I am the parent of a high school senior who is about to go away to college, and the thought of losing him at such a young age, before his life has really begun, is horrifying.
Professionally, as an Orlando accident attorney, a case like this one reminds me how difficult the issue of future wage loss often is in serious personal injury and wrongful death cases. For example, under the Florida Wrongful Death Act, Mr. Kuriakose’s surviving family members would be entitled to recover the lost net accumulations and/or loss of support and services that Mr. Kuriakose would have likely generated in the future. The difficulty arises in trying to determine this loss when someone Mr. Kuriakose’s age perishes in an accident.
After all, he is a college student, and likely has little earnings history. Therefore, expert testimony is often required to analyze and attempt to predict what the decedent would have earned if not prematurely killed. Insurance companies often hire expert to say that this is merely speculative. Oftentimes, this issue is left for a jury to decide, which is inherently unpredictable. Plainly, this issue is very difficult for families.
If you should have any questions regarding a Florida Wrongful Death case, or the issue of future lost wages as they pertain to a personal injury or wrongful death case, please call Winter Park personal injury attorneys Kim Cullen and Robert Hemphill at 407-254-4901. Consultations are always free.