Miccosukee tribe ordered to pay for woman’s death

A Miami-Dade circuit judge ordered the Miccosukke Indian tribe to pay $3.2 million in a personal injury lawsuit after a hearing on June 21. The tribe, located in the southern region of the state, must pay relatives of a woman who died in a car crash.

The deceased was in an auto accident with a female tribal member in 1998. The tribe’s lawyer argued that the Miccosukke was a sovereign nation and not required to pay the personal injury judgment to the 30-year-old’s husband and son.

According to some media reports, the tribe became involved in the auto accident by paying for the tribal member’s defense. It also was a controlling entity in the woman’s legal strategy. Thus, the judge waived its sovereign immunity defense because of its involvement. The lawyers for the Miccosukke tribe announced they will appeal the $3.2 million verdict. However, the lawyers did not say when the appeal would be filed.

An injured individual or a family member could file a lawsuit if another party is found negligent. Negligence, or fault, is determined on a case-by-case basis. Thus, many victims seek help of a personal injury lawyer when considering whether to file a claim or not. The lawyer generally looks at the facts of the case to determine if negligence was an issue. The personal injury lawyer may then file a lawsuit, which may be for damages such as pain and suffering, medical bills or funeral expenses if the victim died. In some cases, the wrongful party wants to settle the claim outside of court. If this occurs, the lawyer may negotiate a personal injury settlement on the client’s behalf.

Source: Miami Herald, “Miccosukee tribe ordered to pay $3.2M in car crash”, June 22, 2013