Major Crash in Clearwater after Man Steals Friend’s Sports Car and Causes DUI Crash

According to the Clearwater Police Department, a major accident involving a stolen vehicle was reported on Monday, May 6th. The crash occurred after midnight at the intersection of Hillcrest Avenue and Court Street in Clearwater. Police officials say the driver of the vehicle was a 28-year- old man named Corey Feldman. The man was driving the stolen vehicle eastbound on Court Street when he rear-ended a BMW. After the collision, the man fled the accident scene but was later found by police hiding out in a nearby hotel. While Feldman suffered minor injuries, the two occupants of the BMW, a male driver and a female passenger, were taken to the hospital with severe injuries. The male was airlifted from the scene with life-threatening injuries and is listed in critical condition, while the female is also being treated. The Clearwater police announced that Feldman has been officially charged with a DUI with serious bodily injury, leaving the scene of a crash with serious bodily injuries, careless driving and driving with a suspended license. At Suarez & Montero, our car accident lawyers understand just how serious a crash like this can be. We are devoted to our clients and will fight to make sure you receive the compensation you deserve!

You May be Eligible to Receive Benefits Under Florida’s Crime Victim Compensation Act

If you’ve been injured in an accident involving a criminal, did you know that Florida has a Crimes Compensation Act that you may be able to take advantage of? Most personal injury protection policies don’t cover all medical expenses incurred in an accident. In fact, there’s usually a 20% co-payment and often a deductible which will have to come out of your own pocket. For instance, let’s say that there’s a pedestrian that is hit and injured by a drunk driver and is hospitalized. The hospital bill is $5,000. The pedestrian has $10,000 P.I.P. coverage with a $1,000 deductible. P.I.P. would pay $3,200 ($5,000 bill − $1,000 deductible = $4,000 × 80% coverage = $3200) leaving the insured responsible for $1,800 of the hospital bill. In response to a growing concern that victims of crime should not be left with these substantial out-of-pocket medical expenses, the legislature passed the Florida Crimes Victim Compensation Act.

Eligibility Under Florida’s Crime Victim Compensation Act

First, a person must be a victim of a crime, an intervenor, a surviving spouse, parent, guardian, sibling, or child of a deceased victim or intervenor to be eligible for the relief afforded by the Crime Victim’s Compensation Act. A victim also includes a person who suffers personal physical injury or death as a direct result of a crime and a person younger than 18 years of age who was present at the scene of a crime, saw or heard the crime, and suffered a psychiatric or psychological injury because of the crime but who was not physically injured. Victims must suffer personal physical injury or death as the result of a crime, must fully cooperate with law enforcement, the State Attorney’s Office, and must not have been engaged in an unlawful activity at the time of the crime. A crime in this context is defined as a felony or misdemeanor offense committed by an adult or a juvenile that results in physical injury or death including a violation of Fla. Stat. § 316.193 (Driving under the influence) or Fla. Stat. § 316.193 (hit and run).

What are the Benefits Available to Victims?

Victim’s Compensation provides financial assistance to person’s who have suffered serious injury as a result of a crime. As it applies to P.I.P., certified eligibility under the Act affords the claimant full P.I.P. coverage. No co-payment or deductible should be applied to such persons and P.I.P. should generally be paid at 100% up to $10,000 with no deductible. Generally, the benefits include: wage loss (for victims who have to miss work due to physical injuries, and parents who miss work to take their child to receive medical treatment for physical injuries, disability benefits for those who suffered a permanent impairment, loss of support for victims who were gainfully employed at the time of death; and medical treatment costs and/or funeral/burial costs.

Statute of Limitations and Application Process

If you believe you qualify under the provisions of the Florida Crimes Compensation Act, a claim for compensation may be filed by a person eligible for compensation as provided in the act (victim, survivor, family member etc.). For minors, their parent or guardian is allowed to submit a claim on their behalf. However, the claim must be filed no later than one year after the occurrence of the crime upon which the claim is based or of the death of the victim or intervenor in the claim. In some instances, the statute of limitations may be extended to two years if good cause is shown for doing so. Before you can file an application for benefits, you need to pass a criminal background check and make sure that you reported the crime within 72 hours of its occurrence. Please note that if you are a habitual felony offender, violent offender, or have received a forcible felony conviction in the past, you will be ineligible to apply. An application for benefits must be completed, signed and dated and must include documentation that proves a
compensable crime occurred. To show this, your application must include one of the following forms of documentation a police report, affidavit charging a person with a crime that is executed by police officer, an information charging a person with a crime filed by the state attorney, an indictment by a grand jury. Additionally, an application must include itemized medical bills and expenses which must be obtained from your treating physician and/or hospital. Any employee of the department receiving a claim for compensation shall, immediately upon receipt of such claim, mail the claim to the department at its office in Tallahassee and promptly notify the state attorney of the circuit wherein the crime is alleged to have occurred. If within 10 days after such notification such state attorney advises the department that a criminal prosecution or delinquency petition is pending upon the same alleged crime and requests that action by the department be deferred, the department shall defer all proceedings under this chapter until such time as a trial verdict or delinquency adjudication has been rendered, and shall so notify such state attorney and claimant. When a trial verdict or delinquency adjudication has been rendered, such state attorney shall promptly notify the department.

If you’ve been injured in an accident involving a criminal, take advantage of the Florida Crime Victims Compensation Act! The application process can be confusing, so feel free to contact an attorney for assistance at any point. At Suarez & Montero, our car accident attorneys can help you determine your eligibility, file the appropriate forms, and fight for fair recovery through every means available. Upon submitting your application, the Attorney General will review your case and decide whether or not you’re eligible to receive Crimes Compensation benefits.

Jaime Suarez

An experienced legal personal injury defense professional in Miami, who is dedicated to helping accident victims with personal injury cases involving automobile accidents, brain and spinal cord injuries, slip and fall accidents, prescription errors, wrongful death, and accidents at work.