Tampa man frustrated over fight for compensation for 20-year-old crash, owed $18M

State bill must pass to get full amount
Posted at 6:56 PM, Mar 09, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-10 02:41:33-05

A Tampa man was awarded millions of dollars in court after a city truck left him severely injured. The crash happened two decades ago and the City of Tampa has only paid a fraction.

Ramiro Companioni can't walk without his cane but it wasn't always like that. Once a navy veteran, a chef, an ice sculpturer and even an amateur boxer. All of it, gone in an instant.

While riding his motorcycle down Hillsborough Avenue in 1996, three City of Tampa water trucks pulled out in front of him. His bike slammed into the back of one of them.

"I was knocked unconscious on impact," he said.

Companioni was trapped underneath dragged nearly 100 feet down the pavement.

"It ripped my world and my life apart," said Companioni.

His injuries were devastating. He was ripped apart from the waist down. In a coma for two weeks after his spleen was removed, two thirds of his liver gone and his spine fractured.

"They couldn't live one day in my shoes," he said.

He tells ABC Action News he's a victim twice-over. As his claims bill now goes before the sate senate for the fourth time. Despite winning nearly $18 million in a case upheld by the Florida Supreme Court.

The city was only forced to pay $100,000 by law.

"Justice is an overused word," he said, "There is no justice."

Although the city lost in court, it has sovereign immunity. Meaning, to get the rest of his money Companioni's bill must pass.

"They'll spend three, five times the amount to fight me instead of paying me," he said.

Companioni left jaded facing the city's attorneys who, he says, have the means and resources to delay his justice time and time again.

"They take from you but they don't give you anything," he said.

Ramiro insists he'll keep fighting. Hopeful he'll win against a system, he believes, victimizes the victims.

ABC Action News reached out to Mayor Bob Buckhorn's Office for comment, as well as the Florida House. At this time, we have not heard back.



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