A 32-year-old man and his family may receive millions of dollars in a settlement relating to a car accident that left him with a brain injury and almost completely confined to a wheelchair.
The case has made headlines across the state due to the unusual circumstances. After nearly 14 years of fighting, the $10.75 million settlement agreement to cover the victim’s life care was reached by his family with the sheriff’s office, as well as its former insurer. The deal must still be signed off on by the Florida Legislature. The process began in the Senate earlier this month with a 37-2 vote, according to the Sun-Sentinel.
The man, who was high school student at the time of the accident in 1998, was in his vehicle when he was hit by a speeding deputy on his way to work. A jury later decided the sheriff’s office should pay $30.7 million.
There are Florida laws, though, protecting government agencies from paying more than $200,000 in damages. In order for victims to receive more than that, a claims bill must be passed and signed by the Legislature ordering the state or local government to make payment. Some lawmakers refused to pass the victim’s claim bill, which led to a battle among lawmakers that lasted for years.
A representative of the family says they would have liked to see more money, but are grateful the settlement was finally reached. It was also noted that the victim’s medical care, vocational training, possible recreational activities, and living expenses would be paid by the settlement, which he will receive from the insurance company pending final approval by the Legislature.
Source: Sun-Sentinel, “Eric Brody, left brain-damaged in accident, set to get $10.75 million,” Kathleen Haughney, Jan. 10, 2012