The families of two young men, killed in a boating accident off the coast of Miami in September of 2016, are suing the estate of former Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez for $2 million each. Fernandez was also killed in the accident.
Fernandez was on the boat with his friend, Eduardo Rivera, and his recently met acquaintance, Emilio Jesus Macias. Although Fernandez owned the boat, investigators are still not sure who was driving the “Kaught Looking” when it crashed into a stone jetty which separates the PortMiami channel from the open ocean. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is continuing to look into the crash.
The Miami-Dade Medical Examiner's Office found that Fernandez was legally drunk at the time and also had cocaine in his system. Both Rivera and Macias also had alcohol in their system, but were not legally drunk.
Fernandez had met his friend Rivera through their girlfriends some time before the accident, and Rivera had introduced Fernandez to his longtime friend, Macias that same evening. Macias was a banker at Wells Fargo and Rivera worked as a sales rep at Carnival Cruise Lines.
The families of Rivera and Macias both raised over $40,000 through GoFundMe.com to cover funeral expenses, but they are suing Fernandez's estate for personal injury and negligence.
The attorney for both the families, Christopher Royer, released a statement after filing the suit saying that “The Rivera and Macias families are deeply scarred by the loss of their sons.” Royer continued, “We remain open to a settlement and are hopeful a prompt resolution can be achieved to spare these families, and that of Jose Fernandez too, from any additional suffering,” Royer continued.
Fernandez's lawyer, however, says that the family is likely unwilling to settle, for multiple reasons. Fernandez announced just days before the accident that his girlfriend was pregnant with their child, and she will be giving birth soon. In addition, Fernandez's family believes that he was not driving the boat at the time of the accident. A witness who was allegedly on the phone with Fernandez when the crash took place says he heard Fernandez tell the boat driver to “go left, go left” just seconds before the call ended.
Fernandez, born in Cuba, had been playing baseball with the Miami Marlins since 2011 when he was drafted. He quickly became well-known and began playing in the major leagues just a couple of years later. He was named Rookie of the Year in 2013, and became an American citizen soon after. Fernandez was reportedly “on the cusp of signing a contract that would have paid him $30 million a year,” and his estate is currently valued at around $2-3 million.
Drugs and alcohol related accidents occur everyday and can have devastating effects on the families of those killed or injured. If you or a loved one has been hurt by someone under the influence, an experienced personal injury attorney can increase your chance for just compensation. Call the Law Office of Jeremy Rosenthal today for a free case consultation at (303) 825-2223 or contact us online.