The traffic on Florida interstates and highways is buzzing night and day. When Florida drivers start to get careless or reckless, devastating accidents usually follow. Speeding drivers and motorists distracted by cell phones put other travelers at risk of collisions and major injuries.
Injury claims filed against car insurance companies can secure some financial assistance for victims and their families. But sometimes insurance companies refuse to offer victims what they truly need to get well and rebuild their lives.
Lawsuits become necessary to force insurance companies and other at-fault parties to step up and provide compensation. These important benefits are how victims can afford to get the best medical care available and how families who have tragically lost a loved one can protect themselves financially in the years to come.
Some of the Biggest 2022 Florida Car Accident Personal Injury Verdicts
The Tampa Law Firm, Robert Sparks Attorneys, examined Verdictsearch.com data from 2022 to report on some of the largest personal injury verdicts, judgments, and settlements awarded to victims in Florida. These elevated car accident settlement amounts aren’t the norm, but they show just how far Florida courts are willing to go to support car crash victims and their families who are in real need.
1. Restaurant Sued After Drunk Patron Causes Deadly I-95 Crash — $95,527,108 Verdict –
A 23-year-old woman, Carmen Criales, driving a sedan was killed and her 21-year-old brother, Bryan Criales, was permanently injured in a 2015 drunk-driving crash on I-95 in Miami-Dade. A drunk driver struck their car in a wrong-way collision. The brother in the front passenger seat was in a coma for months and can no longer walk or talk due to brain damage and other injuries. The lawsuit was leveled against the hotel restaurant and its owners that served the drunk driver alcohol. In June 2022, the Miami-Dade County Circuit Court awarded the parents of the victims a 95-million-dollar verdict. The award included $59 million for the medical care of the injured son and $37 million in damages to the parents.
2. Driver Injured in Fiery Miami Interstate Car Accident – $20,700,000 Verdict —
In 2019, Michael Edwards was driving a car on I-95 in Miami when he was sideswiped by another motorist in an SUV. Edwards’ car was sent into a median and caught fire. The at-fault driver was killed in the accident. Edwards suffered third-degree burns over 20% of his body, along with multiple fractures. He required skin graft surgeries and now has visible scarring. Mr. Edwards sued the estate of the deceased driver and the company that owned the SUV. In August of 2022, Michael Edwards received a $20 million dollar verdict.
3. Pedestrian Hit by USPS Mail Carrier in Miami – $18,360,396 Decision —
A lawsuit filed against the U.S. Postal Service earned a pedestrian accident victim and her sons an 18-million dollar judgment in U.S. District Court in Miami in August of 2022. Maya Nainani sustained respiratory failure and brain damage in an accident involving a U.S. Mail Vehicle. She has a tracheostomy tube in her neck. Her medical and hospital bills totaled more than $5.4 million. The judge was convinced that the USPS employee was not monitoring the road ahead properly as the driver approached an intersection.
4. Woman Suffers Spinal Damage in Rear-End Accident on I-295 in Jacksonville – $16,433,353 Verdict —
26-year-old Jessica Long was struck from behind by another driver on Interstate 295 in Jacksonville in 2018. She suffered neck and spine injuries including nerve impingement and herniated disks. The legal battle to get Jessica Long injury compensation began in 2019. In February of 2022, a Duval County Circuit Court Jury decided on a 16-million-dollar verdict against Travelers Home and Marine Insurance Company.
5. Florida Keys Pedestrian Struck by Motorist Illegally Using Turn Lane –$12,022,950 Verdict –
In 2011, A 19-year-old woman was attempting to cross U.S. 1 in Islamorada at 8 p.m. when she was struck by two vehicles and badly injured. Her lawyers argued that the first driver was guilty of an illegal lane change and that the second driver had been speeding.
The victim, Ashley Rierson, had many fractures, and also suffered brain injuries and ruptured organs. She’s been put through dozens of surgeries. She was originally hospitalized for six months. In September of 2022, Rierson was awarded $12,000,000 in Monroe County Circuit Court.
6. Retired Woman Struck by SUV in Starbucks Parking Lot in Fernandina Beach – $8,970,000 Verdict –
72-year-old Sherry Gold was walking in a Starbucks parking lot in 2019 when she was struck by an SUV in the drive-thru lane. She suffered fractures in her knee and ankle and endured a crushed foot. She now walks with the assistance of a walker. She sued Starbucks on the grounds that the design of its drive-thru lane and parking lot put people at risk. State Farm Auto Insurance was also named in the lawsuit, but the jury later cleared the driver of blame in the accident. In April 2022, The Nassau County Circuit Court awarded her almost $9 million in damages.
7. Drunk Driver Causes Fatal Head-On Collision in Miami – $8,172,000 Verdict –
In 2020, 57-year-old Idomo Akamune was driving on Northeast 54th Street in Miami when she was struck head-on by an SUV and tragically killed. A blood-alcohol test showed that the at-fault driver was over the legal limit. The victim is survived by her husband and her three children. In May 2022, A Miami-Dade County Circuit Court jury awarded the victim’s estate just over $8 million in wrongful death damages.
8. Spinal Injuries Suffered in Rear-End Accident in Sanford FL – $7,877,492 Verdict –
In April 2018, 35-year-old James Feaster was in his pickup truck when he was struck from behind by a driver on West State Road 46 in Sanford, Florida. The victim suffered multiple herniated disks and has since struggled with pain. Feaster sued the at-fault driver and the vehicle’s owner. He also sued his own car insurance provider, Progressive, to earn underinsured motorist benefits. In May 2022, he was awarded almost $8 Million by a Seminole County Circuit Court jury.
9. Seatbelt Malfunction in Tampa Accident Causes TBI and Hematoma — $5,911,139 Settlement –
In 2020, 46-year-old Michael Nguyen was driving a car in Tampa when he was broadsided by a semi-truck at the intersection of Orient Road and Hillsborough Avenue. Mr. Nguyen claimed that the impact caused his seat belt to release to allow severe injuries. The victim suffered lacerations to internal organs and Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI). Nguyen sued the truck driver and the driver’s employer, Steel Worx Solutions, LLC. In August 2022, the case resulted in a nearly $6 million dollar settlement.
10. Road Surveyor Fatally Struck by Truck in Orlando – $5,032,804 Verdict —
In September 2014, a surveyor working along Waterford Creek Boulevard in Orlando was struck by an Orange County utility truck and dragged. The victim, 38-year-old Chad Dixon, was rushed to Florida Hospital East but was tragically pronounced dead there. The estate for the victim sued Orange County. In April 2022, the estate was awarded a $5 million verdict by an Orange County Circuit Court.