Articles Posted in Wrongful Death

Florida wrongful death lawsuits can help families obtain a measure of accountability from those whose wrongdoing took their loved ones from them. But beyond that, they can make the future safer by compelling changes that may prevent someone else from being harmed in the same way. Through all this, it is our hope as Broward wrongful death attorneys, that surviving family members find some measure of peace and closure. Florida wrongful death lawsuits Broward wrongful death attorney

An example of this was seen recently in the $8.2 million Florida wrongful death lawsuit against a bridge operation company facing allegations of negligence in the death of a 79-year-old West Palm Beach bicyclist who died after plummeting from a bridge that was abruptly raised while she was in the midst of crossing it. She’d been just 10 feet away from the edge of the bridge when she fell to her death in the gap. The bridge tender at the time of the incident has been arrested and faces a single count of manslaughter by culpable negligence. (She told investigators she had gone outside to visually check that the bridge was clear before raising it, but video evidence and other testimony have thus far contradicted this, according to local news sources.)

Meanwhile, the decedent’s family filed a Florida wrongful death lawsuit against the bridge tender’s employer, a company called Florida Drawbridges, Inc. Plaintiffs in this case not only sought monetary damages for their lawsuit, but also industry-accepted safety changes to ensure something like this doesn’t happen again to another Florida family. In their filing, the family specifically stated they wanted an outcome that resulted in “change to preclude this preventable tragedy from occurring in the future.”

Ultimately, that’s what they got in addition to the $8.2 million settlement. Among the procedural changes that the defendant drawbridge company agreed to undergo:

  • Subjecting all bridge tender applicants to successfully pass criminal background checks.
  • To schedule recertification training with all current bridge tenders.
  • To facilitate periodic audits of operations with out-of-area supervisors.
  • To require all bridge tenders to watch a 23-minute video on the decedent’s life, driving home the profound price one family paid because one of its bridgetenders allegedly failed to use due caution.

The family reportedly donated a significant portion of the settlement proceeds – including the creation of an annual $30,000 scholarship that will carry on for the next three decades. As the family’s wrongful death attorney was quoted as saying, the family wanted fundamental changes to be central to this settlement agreement. “At the end of the day, we got those changes. Hopefully at the end of the day, this never happens to another family.”

Damages in Florida Wrongful Death Lawsuits

Proving wrongful death in Florida (as codified in F.S. 786.16 – 786.26) requires evidence that: Continue reading

South Florida car accidents involving dump trucks have been piling up in recent years, prompting concern about why these commercial vehicles in particular pose such a serious threat to the public as well as workers.Fort Lauderdale truck accident lawyer

Dump trucks carry heavy, uneven loads and are known to make frequent stops. They’re often out early in the morning, when streets are still dark. Drivers who work long hours, making them more prone to fatigued driving. All these issues lead to outsized danger when you’re dealing with a dump truck, a Class 8 vehicle that can weigh 33,000 pounds or more.

Dump Trucks and Garbage Trucks are Considered “Large Trucks”

Dump trucks and garbage trucks aren’t the same as the big rigs and 18-wheelers you spot barreling down the highway, but legally, they’re in the same category as other “large trucks.” Weight is the primary determining factor in terms of what is considered a “large truck” by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Vehicles with a gross weight of 10,000 pounds or more is considered a “large vehicle.”

Per the FMCSA, Large Truck Traffic Safety Facts, more than 70 percent of the people who die in crashes involving large trucks are the people in the other vehicle. Nearly 160,000 people are injured in large truck accidents each year in the U.S. In three-fourths of deadly crashes involving large trucks, the truck involved weighed more than 26,000 pounds, placing them in the “heavy” large truck category.

Despite the massive size and weight, dump trucks are used to make repeated trips between construction sites, suppliers, and waste drop-off points. Repeated trips increase the potential for collisions. Drivers are often under significant pressure to get the job done, leading to dangerous actions behind the wheel, including speed, distraction, and aggressive driving.

Another significant danger with dump trucks is that in their rush, dump truck drivers sometimes travel with loads that are uncovered. This can result in debris falling off onto the road – and into the path of falling traffic. This creates a serious road hazard that puts others’ lives at risk.

Garbage trucks, meanwhile, are similar to dump trucks in that they are considered heavy vehicles, though as Class 7 vehicles, they tend to weigh in at slightly less, between 26,000 to 33,000 pounds. The disparity of weight and mass between a garbage truck and passenger vehicle, pedestrian or bicyclist makes a collision with one incredibly dangerous. Data from the FMCSA reports that in a single recent year, more than 100 garbage/refuse truck deaths and more than 1,400 injuries. A quarter of those killed were sanitation workers. An analysis by OSHA on garbage truck accidents reveals dozens of fatal or serious injuries among employees in one year. Continue reading

Everything about a semi-truck is bigger. The tires, the wheels, the mirrors, the loads they carry and the insurance policies that must be maintained on them. That last one is for very good reason: The potential for substantial property damage and serious injury when a semi-truck is involved in a crash is also outsized. These are some of the reasons Florida truck accident lawsuits can take much longer to resolve than typical car accident cases.Fort Lauderdale truck accident lawyer

In a single recent year, there were more than 500,000 crashes involving large trucks, including more than 4,500 that were fatal and 107,000 that resulted in injuries. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the majority of those injured or killed in these collisions (82 percent) are the people in other vehicles. The number of fatal truck crashes per people in the U.S. has risen 27 percent since 2010. Continue reading

Construction sites are among the most dangerous workplaces in Florida. Those on-the-job work from heights, dodge moving objects, face the threat of slips, trips and falls, toil down in the trenches and encounter hazardous chemicals, toxic materials and live electricity. Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyer

But it is ever possible for a worker injured in a construction accident to sue? The answer is yes, it’s possible, though as our Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyers can explain, it’s usually a third-party liability lawsuit rather than a direct lawsuit against one’s employer. The reason for this has to do with Florida’s workers’ compensation laws. Specifically, F.S. 440.11 holds that workers’ compensation is the exclusive remedy of injury claims by an employee against an employer UNLESS:

  • The worker is not actually the company’s employee.
  • The employer committed an intentional tort that caused the injury or death of an employee (deliberately intending to injure the employee or engaging in conduct that, based on prior similar accidents or explicit warnings, they knew was virtually certain to result in injury/death to the employee and the employee didn’t know about the risk).
  • The employer didn’t secure workers’ compensation insurance, as they were required by law.

It is very tough to prove employers in construction site accidents committed an intentional tort. Most claims stem from the other two exceptions. Continue reading

The pregnant widow of a man shot and killed in South Florida over a puzzling parking lot altercation that resulted in her husband’s death – which she witnessed – has vowed that in addition to pressing for justice from the criminal courts, she will file a civil lawsuit for wrongful death. Would her baby have a claim too?

The right of survivors to claim damages is one of two kinds of wrongful death lawsuits in Florida. The other is an estate claim that seeks recovery of damages on the decedent’s behalf.Fort Lauderdale wrongful death attorney

The Fort Lauderdale wrongful death attorneys at The Ansara Law Firm can help you determine the right of each survivor affected following the death of a loved one due to another’s negligence, recklessness and/or violence. We can also help you determine which kind of wrongful death lawsuit makes the most sense to pursue.

Florida law regarding the civil rights of fetuses can be a touchy subject, but statute does make it clear that a child who was not yet born when a parent died still has the right to pursue wrongful death damages – as long as they are eventually born. Continue reading

Florida Statute 768.19 holds that when a person’s death is caused by the wrongful act, negligence, default or breach of contract by someone else/another entity, the estate of decedent can pursue a civil lawsuit against that person in Florida’s courts for legal remedy for death/losses. wrongful death lawyer

But does this right of action still exist if the person who died took their own life?

Florida wrongful death attorneys will tell you that in some cases, the answer is yes. Some wrongful death/suicide cases are predicated on the assertion a defendant owed a duty of care to prevent the suicide, as they were placed on notice of the risk and had a special relationship with decedent (i.e., a schoolteacher, guidance counselor, medical professional, etc.). Other times, the assertion is that but-for the defendant’s actions, decedent would not have tried to harm themselves. Continue reading

The Florida Supreme Court just raised the bar on allowable scientific evidence with its nixing of the longstanding Frye test in favor of the more rigid Daubert, the latter followed by federal courts as well as those in most other states. This will mean additional hurdles, expense and time delays for plaintiffs in Florida injury lawsuits – particularly in cases of medical malpractice and product liability, which either require and/or rely heavily on expert witness testimony.Fort Lauderdale injury lawyer

Last month’s divided ruling of In re: Amendments to the Florida Evidence Codecame as something of a shock to courts and South Florida injury attorneys, given that the state high court had ruled on this very matter in October – and came down firmly on the other side. Justices in the majority cited serious constitutional concerns and procedural issues.

Now, the majority has ruled those “grave concerns” for constitutional rights and procedure were “unfounded.”

The parents of a toddler who drowned in a retention pond earlier this year have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the owner of the property, alleging negligence for failure to install a fence that would have protected their son and prevented his drowning.wrongful death Fort Lauderdale

A Fort Lauderdale wrongful death attorney can explain that these types of cases are what we refer to as premises liability claims. They posit that a property owner owed a duty of care to those who entered that site, failed in that duty and injury or wrongful death ensued.

Normally, this duty of care extends only to lawful guests, which means if someone trespasses on a property, they aren’t owed much of anything (except that the property owner not actively try to hurt them by setting traps, etc.). But this type of case involves a special kind of premises liability claim under what’s known as the attractive nuisance doctrine.

Essentially, F.S. 768.075 holds that landowners generally owe no duty to trespassers under most conditions. One exception is where it pertains to young children if there is a feature on the property likely to attract children, such as a swimming pool or pond. F.S. 823.08 also outlines a number of potential attractive nuisances, such as abandoned iceboxes, clothes dryers and other similar airtight objects in which children might want to play, but would be extremely dangerous. Continue reading

In a case likely to be closely-watched both for the high-profile nature of the underlying incident and the precedent it’s likely to set for victim compensation claims against school districts and other Florida government agencies deemed liable in mass casualty incidents.  the Florida Supreme Court has accepted review of a lawsuit against the Broward County School Board for failure to protect children from the mass shooting incident at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. Broward injury lawyer blog

When oral arguments are held in late August, justices will be analyzing whether damage caps applied to government liability claims should be adjusted when multiple people are harmed or killed. The court scheduled for the same day a similar case against the Florida Department of Children and Families.

Florida Sovereign Immunity Law Caps Damages for School Liability

Broward wrongful death lawyers can explain the key issue will be an interpretation of Florida’s sovereign immunity law, F.S. 768.28. If you sue a state government agency – whether it’s a police department, city government, school district or larger state agencies – those damages are capped at $200,000 per person and $300,000 per incident. The question is whether these deaths all occurred as a part of one incident, and thus all parents are required to split the $300,000, or whether each shot fired was a separate incident, and thus entitling each individual claimant to $200,000. Continue reading

Troopers with the Florida Highway Patrol will be cracking down on unsafe driving habits this month as part of their Operation Safe DRIVE (Distracted Reckless Impaired Visibility Enforcement), noting they’ll be watching in particular for infractions involving commercial vehicles. As one official noted to a local news outlet, a “surprising” number of highway crashes involve commercial vehicles of some type. Fort Lauderdale truck accident attorney

Our Fort Lauderdale truck accident lawyers don’t find this surprising at all, in particular after viewing the latest U.S. Department of Transportation data on Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Analysis Division.

The data shows there were nearly 4,900 trucks and buses involved in deadly crashes in 2017 – which was a 9 percent increase from the number recorded just a year earlier. Further, the number of large trucks (defined as those over 10,000 pounds) and buses involved in fatal crashes spiked 42 percent from the record low of 3,432 in 2009.  Continue reading

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