Articles Posted in Wrongful Death

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Council members for the City of Fort Myers have agreed to pay $40,000 to avoid further litigation involving the family of a 20-year-old man who was fatally shot at a Halloween-themed event downtown two years ago. injury lawyer

The News-Press reports the city hoped to avoid the continuation of a $5 million wrongful death lawsuit, by settling with the young man’s personal representative. The city has already spent $55,000 thus far settling various lawsuits filed against it after the unsolved shooting at the event, a horror-themed tradition called Zombicon. The city cut ties with the event coordinator soon after the shooting. Two more personal injury lawsuits are still pending in state court, as well as a third involving a dispute with insurer in federal court. Previously, the city paid two other 20-year-olds who had been shot and injured $7,500 each.

Zombicon had been one of the most popular downtown celebrations, drawing some 20,000 people to the event every year. However, at the 2015 event, shortly before midnight, an unknown person started firing into the crowd. Decedent was killed and six others were seriously injured. After nine years of the event being held downtown, it is no longer. The event organizer is also facing litigation, alleging, among other things, inadequate security.  Continue reading →

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A jury awarded $11.2 million to the parents of a 27-year-old camera assistant who died in 2014 in the first day of shooting a film in Georgia. However, the $3.9 million ordered paid by CSX Transportation – the sole defendant at trial, as all others had previously settled – may not be paid if the company is successful with its planned appeal. Jurors had deemed the railroad company 35 percent liable. The director was deemed 28 percent liable, the corporation that owns the land where the tracks were located was deemed 18 percent liable, the assistant director 7 percent liable and the producer 5 percent liable.wrongful death lawyer

According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the crew member was killed when a train crashed into a place where the film crew was setting up for a scene. It was reported the production crew lacked permission to film on the train trestle.

Her parents, plaintiffs in the wrongful death lawsuit, say their goal was to obtain answers about what happened to their daughter and to obtain accountability for the foolish and potentially criminal actions of defendants. The director on the set served a year in jail after pleading guilty to involuntary manslaughter and criminal trespassing charges.  Continue reading →

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In any injury lawsuit against the government, there are a number of legal protections afforded those entities that can make these cases challenging.phone1

One of the strongest legal defenses for emergency responders is the public duty doctrine. It’s a principle of personal injury law that holds government owes its duty of care to the public at-large, not individuals. So individuals could only prevail in these injury cases if they could show some special relationship existed, and not simply that the agency had breached a duty to the general public (i.e., “a duty to all is a duty to no one”).

Florida has not recognized the public duty doctrine since 2001, following the passage of F.S. 768.28, which spells out the waiver of sovereign immunity in tort actions.  Now, Illinois joins the growing number of states to abolish the public duty doctrine, after a divided decision in Coleman v. E. Joliet Fire Prot. Dist. Continue reading →

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Many tourists come to Florida seeking adventure, and they find it in the form of deep sea fishing or personal water craft rides or parasailing or swamp boat rides. Those are just a few examples, and in virtually every case, participants are going to be asked to sign a liability waiver.raft

These waivers are intended to protect the interests of the business offering the service from legal action should one of the participants get injured. These waivers, also referred to as “exculpatory clauses,” won’t automatically shield a company from all claims, but there is a rebuttable presumption that the contracts are valid. That means the burden of proof is on plaintiff to prove why they aren’t.

Some reasons why a waiver might not be valid:

  • It goes against public policy;
  • It’s inherently unfair;
  • The language is ambiguous.

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Florida’s prison system and jails are coming under fire amid a host of inmate injuries and deaths that are alleged to have been caused by abuse and neglect. The Miami Herald reports there were nearly 350 inmates who died in Florida prisons last year. While not all of those are attributed to wrongdoing, it is a record high, despite the fact the number of inmates as a whole has remained largely unchanged.prison2

One of those cases, involving a man who died after suffering severe burns after being locked by guards in a scalding hot shower, has resulted in a federal investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division. The 50-year-old inmate at the Dade Correctional Institution in Miami suffered from schizophrenia and was allegedly being punished for refusing to clean feces off the floor of his cell.

An investigation by the Miami Herald, which involved spending more than a year interviewing dozens of witnesses, pouring over hundreds of records and analyzing a number of claims, the paper found alleged abuses included:

  • Sexual assaults by officers against inmates;
  • Racially motivated beatings;
  • Withholding food from inmates in a mental health ward;
  • Refusing to secure medical treatment for inmates in dire need.

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The parents of an infant who died tragically in a hot car that was parked outside a Florida daycare facility for seven hours in the summer will not be able to collect any compensation from the driver’s personal insurance policy. cars

That’s according to a new ruling by Florida’s Third District Court of Appeal in Bryant v. Windhaven Insurance Co., which is part of a larger case in which the parents are seeking justice from the van driver personally, as well as the day care center (his employer) and the landlord of the property where the incident occurred.

This ruling will only affect the case insofar as it relates to the van driver’s personal liability. He may yet still be found personally liable and obligated to pay, but he will not have his personal insurance company to be responsible for that payment if that happens. Continue reading →

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An unforeseen household accident ended tragically when a Florida man was electrocuted while installing a new dishwasher. According to reports, the 33-year-old victim was killed when his wedding ring came in contact with a live wire. Police in South Daytona said that the man was at his in-laws home helping to install a new dishwasher. The family was preparing to eat when the saw the victim kneeling at the appliance with his left arm extended behind the dishwasher. They noticed that he was turning red and unresponsive. They immediately pulled him away and began CPR before calling 911.

mllkODKParamedics responded to the scene and transported the victim to Halifax Health Medical Center where he was later pronounced dead. According to the family, the victim had previously installed and repaired household appliances. Investigators at the scene believe that his wedding ring came in contact with a copper wire. Though the family had turned off most of the power in the room for the installation, it was left on while he reached behind the dishwasher to check on a strange sounds that were coming from behind the new appliance.

Electrocution during home maintenance and repair is not uncommon. According to the Electrical Safety Foundation International, there are more than 100,000 people treated for electrical shock every year in the United States. Death from electrical currents passing through the body can result from fatal effects on the heart, severe burns, and other organ damage. Household wiring was responsible for 11% of electrocution deaths in the United States.

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While October isn’t the busiest boating season, warm fall weather means that plenty of boaters, both experienced and inexperienced, will be taking to Florida waters. In a tragic accident, a 29-year-old woman was killed when two boats were involved in a deadly collision. According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the accident involved a 65-foot yacht and a 27-foot boat. Three people fell into the water following the collision and were brought aboard the yacht. All three victims were taken to Mercy Hospital for medical care. In critical condition, the 29-year-old victim was rushed to Jackson Memorial Hospital where she was later pronounced dead.

548713_boat_wake_2The deadly boating accident, which occurred near Key Biscayne, has sparked a wide investigation and controversy as operators of both boats await toxicology reports. According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the 27-foot boat was headed south when it collided with the yacht, traveling in a northern direction after 10 o’clock in the evening. The crash occurred on Columbus Day weekend when there were additional officers patrolling the area. They were able to respond quickly when they saw flares shot into the air.

The agency has not determined cause of the accident, but did perform immediate sobriety tests on the operator of the larger boat. He performed a breathalyzer test and also had his blood drawn, but toxicology reports can take weeks. The officers were also investigating whether speed or reckless driving was a cause of the accident. Any accident involving a fatality should be investigated by authorities as well as an independent investigator. In this case, the cause of the accident may include speeding or reckless boating, drinking and boating, driving without a license, violation of Florida boating laws, manufacturing defects, and other causes.

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Wrongful death lawsuits may range from a single death in a car accident to complex class-action claims involving multiple defendants. A decision handed down this month has been deemed the “largest wrongful death judgment in Florida history,” to a single plaintiff. According to local reports, a Pensacola woman sued RJ Reynolds in 2008 over the death of her husband. The lawsuit alleged that the company knowingly conspired to hide the health dangers and addictive nature of its tobacco products. The victim was only 36 years old when he died of lung cancer.

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Tobacco litigation has been on the rise since the 1980s, when victims and their loved ones learned the very dangerous effects of smoking. Despite the history of litigation and anti-smoking campaigns, recent lawsuits have shed light on the reality that tobacco companies have still gone to great lengths to hide the dangers of these products from consumers. Our Fort Lauderdale wrongful death attorneys are dedicated to uncovering the truth about dangerous products and manufacturers. We are also experienced in complex litigation and can successfully protect the rights of individuals who have lost a loved one as a result of negligent corporations.
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After the devastating loss of a loved one due to negligence, survivors may conclude a lawsuit seeking damages for wrongful death is in order. One of the first questions that must be answered is who will bring the action.
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Florida, like many other states, has a wrongful death statute with intricate provisions, filled with exclusions and exceptions regarding who can pursue a claim. It tends to be a more complicated matter than one might initially assume.

Before we explore the specifics of Florida law, our Coral Springs wrongful death attorneys wanted to mention the recent decision by the Wisconsin Supreme Court in Force v. Am. Family Mut. Ins. Co.. Like Florida, there are laws specifying who may file a claim. Yet, the state supreme court made an exception contrary to the wording of the statute, finding that to decide otherwise would be a breach of the legislative intent.
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