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Man hit by drunk driver can't get relief

9:19 PM, May 29, 2013   |    comments
  • Truck driven by David Cline. (Photo courtesy of Frederick Smith)
  • Car driven by Frederick Smith (Photo courtesy of Frederick Smith)
  • (Photo courtesy of Frederick Smith)
    
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A local man says his life has been run off the road after being hit by a drunk driver earlier this year. 

"The driver was taken to jail on site, he was given the sobriety test and obviously failed," said Frederick Smith. 

Smith thought the conclusion would be obvious.

Smith was hit by drunk driver, who was on the job, in February and he never doubted the driver or the company would pay for his care.

But as months went by, Smith couldn't get a straight answer and was forced to hire a lawyer to try and get some insurance money.

"[My lawyer] sent out several letters saying, hey, someone has been hurt, we've had returned letters, even trying to go to the company, no one wants to speak to me.," Smith said.

Eventually his attorney dropped the case, because there was nothing he could do.

He was hit by David Cline, a driver for PTL Kennel, a company that transports greyhounds, to the Orange Park Kennel Club.

Ten greyhounds were in the F-250 truck when it hit the back of Smith's car.

Cline is no longer employed by PTL Kennel. 

Cline did not have insurance on the truck, and the owner of the truck and the company, James Rae, didn't have insurance either.

"His only option is to sue the owner of the corporation," said Attorney Eric Friday.

Friday said it will be nearly impossible for Smith to get any money for his injuries or his car if both the company and the driver didn't have insurance.

Smith will have to try and recoup the money alone, because no lawyer will represent him.

"There's no ability for an attorney to take the case and ever get paid for his work," said Friday.

Smith said he's still willing to try.

He's gone to all of Cline's court dates, and says he plans to sue Cline and Rae in civil court.

But Smith said the ordeal has made his life a complete mess. 

If you want to avoid this mess, you should ask your insurance agent about uninsured or under-insured driver coverage with your policy.

Most general liability policies do not include uninsured or under-insured driver coverage, but in a case like this, the coverage would have paid for Smith's car and his care.

First Coast News

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