As an Aventura wrongful death attorney, I was dismayed to see that a 14-year-old girl has died after a bad car accident with a law enforcement officer. The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported Jan. 25 that Cara Catlin, a freshman at Northeast High School in Oakland Park, died Jan. 23 in a crash with a Broward County Sheriff’s Deputy. Catlin was riding in a car driven by her 21-year-old stepsister, Heather Meyer, who was also injured in the crash, as was Gabriel Alegria, 15. Both Meyer and Alegria were hospitalized in stable condition. The deputy, 21-year-old Frank McCurrie, was treated for minor injuries and released. Homicide investigators are looking into whether the deputy was speeding when the accident occurred.
McCurrie was going straight through the intersection of Northeast 56th Street and Dixie Highway when Meyer was making a left turn; both had green lights, but Meyer did not have a green arrow. The first reports about the accident said McCurrie didn’t have his lights and siren on when he passed through the intersection. A Broward Sheriff’s Office spokesperson later said McCurrie didn’t need the emergency signals because he wasn’t responding to an emergency. However, a witness told the newspaper that the deputy was going around 70 mph, in a 40-mph zone, before the crash happened. Investigators say it’s too early to confirm that claim, but that it will be investigated thoroughly. Meyer, Alegria and an aunt of Catlin’s, Edie Bronder, all declined comment. Bronder said the family is consulting an attorney.
This is a very sensible decision. Calling an attorney so soon may sound premature to some people, but as a Boca Raton wrongful death lawyer, I know that families need to start right away if they plan legal action against law enforcement. The Broward Sheriff’s Office is a government agency, of course, and all government agencies have special rules governing lawsuits against them. In Florida, these include shorter deadlines for filing and special administrative procedures families must complete before they can file claims. If you’re considering a lawsuit against a police department or any other government agency, it’s very important to make sure you follow these rules to the letter, because deviation can delay your case or even cause you to miss the deadline entirely. If that happens, you may be unable to sue at all, no matter how strong your case is.
For those reasons, experts recommend that people with claims against a government agency talk to an experienced attorney as soon as possible. If that sounds like your situation, Cohn, Smith & Cohn can help. We have more than 25 years of experience representing wrongful death victims in South Florida, including families that lost someone to the negligence of a government agency. Our Pembroke Pines wrongful death attorneys know that no amount of money can bring back someone taken too soon — but it can help families struggling with unexpected financial effects of a death. In a lawsuit, families may claim all of the costs of a crash, including medical bills, repair costs and past and future loss of income. They may also claim damages for their grief and personal losses.
If you’ve lost someone unexpectedly and unfairly, and you believe someone else’s negligence was responsible, you should call Cohn, Smith & Cohn to learn more. To set up a free, confidential evaluation of your case, please contact us through the Internet or call our main office at (954) 431-8100 today.