In February 2015, TV star, entrepreneur, and Olympic gold-medal winning decathlete Caitlyn Jenner (formerly Bruce) was involved in a very public and very complex car accident in Malibu, California. While authorities did not charge Jenner with a crime, she was still sued by the families involved in the accident. Most of those lawsuits have been settled, while one is still pending. What can the Caitlyn Jenner car accident situation teach us about Florida car accidents, which can happen at any moment, to any of us? Let’s look at the facts:
On a rainy section of the PCH, Caitlyn Jenner (who was still legally Bruce) began a four-car pile-up when her SUV rear-ended a Lexus. The Lexus was pushed into oncoming traffic and struck by a Hummer, killing the driver of the Lexus Kim Howe. Jenner’s car then hit a Prius that was stopped in front of the Lexus.
According to police reports, Jenner passed a field sobriety test, nor was she texting or driving recklessly. Prosecutors declined charges of misdemeanor manslaughter in the case.
But despite the fact that she did not face criminal charges, Jenner has been the subject of civil action brought by all three parties in the crash: the adult stepchildren of Kim Howe, the deceased Lexus driver; the Wolf-Millesi family traveling in the Hummer; and Jessica Steindorff, the driver of the Prius. The suits claimed wrongful death, negligence, and personal injury and property damage, respectively.
Over the course of the past year, the suits filed by the family of Kim Howe and the Prius driver have been settled, reportedly with payments from Jenner’s insurance company. The suit filed by the family in the Hummer is still pending.
So what are the takeaways from this complicated, tragic situation?
- Car accidents don’t discriminate: a life-changing crash can happen to anyone, at any time, regardless of their celebrity status. In Florida, 2336 fatal accidents occurred in 2014, one of the highest rates per capita in the country. For more Florida car accident statistics, visit this site for a state-by-state overview.
- If you’re a driver, purchase as much liability and uninsured motorist coverage as you can afford. Liability insurance covers you if you cause a car accident, while uninsured motorist coverage kicks in if you are the victim in an accident and the other driver does not have liability insurance (or is underinsured). Both types of coverage are critical, depending on which side of the car accident you’re on. A car accident attorney can advise you more on how much coverage you need.
- If you’re in a Florida car accident, seek the advice of an experienced, ethical lawyer. Every person involved in the Caitlyn Jenner car accident has legal rights that need to be protected. These drivers deserve to be counseled by an attorney with a deep knowledge of the laws governing their state, and an understanding of the nuances of their particular case.
Even if you don’t think you have a case, we urge you to contact reputable counsel like Central Florida car accident attorney Jeff Badgley so that you can move forward from an auto accident with peace of mind. Call us for a free consultation at (407) 781-0420 today.