Lee County Commissioners to vote on settlement for 2013 crash

Author: Mike Walcher
Published: Updated:

LEE COUNTY, Fla.- The county is offering to pay $200,000 to a woman who lost her unborn child in a crash with an ambulance. Investigators say the ambulance driver was speeding when he ran a stop sign and slammed into Kristina Childs’ car.

The accident happened in Fort Myers back in 2013. The county is admitting fault after the ambulance transporting a patient, without lights or sirens, smashed into Childs’ car. The ambulance driver is no longer employed by Lee County.

Childs’ attorney says the $200,000 will barely cover her hospital bills. Childs was 8 months pregnant at the time of the accident. Her attorney says she lost her unborn son and suffered severe leg, wrist, and other injuries.

The county attorney is briefing commissioners, who vote next week on whether to approve the $200,000.

“This is an impossible situation we’re dealing with, no happy ending can come of this,” said County Commissioner Frank Mann.

The settlement amount is not greater because the state limits what local governments can pay per person in claims. It’s called sovereign immunity, and some attorneys tell WINK News although it may save taxpayers some cash, it doesn’t help the severely injured.

“Because they’re being told by the legislature, by their attorney, and by the state, that $200,000 is all you can ever get. In a lot of cases, that’s more than enough money but in some cases, just like this one, it’s not enough,” said attorney Scott Goldberg.

Childs’ attorney in Sarasota says the other option is to ask the legislature to pass a special bill in order to receive a larger settlement, but that could take years and there’s no guarantee the bill would pass.

“That is the law we are dealing with today and those are the parameters that have been set for the potential settlement and there is nothing the county commission can do to change that,” said Mann.

Childs and her attorney have decided not to speak about the case until after the county’s vote which will take place December 2nd.

Other people injured in the crash also have outstanding claims against Lee County.

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