Verdict for $1.8M given in accident

Published April 9, 2007

A federal jury handed down a $1.8-million verdict last week against a local moving company as a result of an accident in North Carolina that injured a woman from New York.

The complaint, filed in U.S. District Court in Tampa, named APS Express Inc. on 49th Street N in Clearwater and Thomas Clifton Beasley of Spring Hill in Hernando County as defendants.

According to the lawsuit, Beasley was driving an 18-wheel Freightliner truck that rear-ended the car in which Indranie Sanichar was a passenger three years ago.

Sanichar, 39, is a system information analyst from Queens who is back at work, said Palm Harbor attorney Wil Florin, who represented the victim along with attorney Tom Roebig.

"I know she is happy to have that phase of her life over with," Florin said.

The attorney representing APS and Beasley did not return a call seeking comment.

In a response to the lawsuit, however, attorney Douglas Fraley had argued that Sanichar contributed to her injuries by not wearing a seat belt. He also contended that the driver of her car, Fernando Ortiz, contributed to the accident by operating his vehicle "negligently" and "improperly."

The accident occurred in May 4, 2004, on northbound Interstate 95 near Rocky Mount, N.C., Florin said.

Beasley was on his way from Clearwater to Virginia, Florin said. Sanichar and boyfriend Ortiz were returning from Orlando to New York.

During rainy weather on an early morning, Florin said Beasley approached from behind and struck the 1993 Plymouth Sunbird in which Sanichar was riding.

The impact caused the Sunbird to go off the road and hit a tree, Florin said. Sanichar suffered internal and external injuries, according to court documents. Florin added that Sanichar suffered back and pelvic injuries and had to be extricated from the car.

Ortiz handled his case separately, Florin said.

The judgment for Sanichar covers past and future medical expenses. Of the total, $1.1-million is for past and future pain and suffering.

The judgment is against both Beasley and APS, according to Florin. He says that the first responsible party is the insurance company that insured the moving company. If the insurance company doesn't pay the full amount, then the parties have to negotiate who pays the rest.