Articles Posted in Wrongful Death

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

Florida wrongful death lawsuits stemming from suspected medical malpractice by way of excessive medication doses are more common than we’d like to believe. Fort Lauderdale medical malpractice attorneys know that medical errors like these can result from ineffective charting procedures, inadequate oversight, poor staff training or staffers simply making an error and not following protocol.wrongful death lawyer

A study by Johns Hopkins University found that more a quarter of a million people in the U.S. die every year as a result of medical errors, and medical researchers said the actual figure could be as high as 440,000. Even the low estimate puts it at No. 3 for leading cause of death, behind heart disease and cancer. Medication overdose is what killed a two-year-old child in 2006 after an area pharmacist accidentally gave the child 20 times the recommended dose of sodium chloride. It was the girl’s last chemotherapy visit. She died three days later in Cleveland, Ohio. The pharmacist later served six months in jail for involuntary manslaughter.

Now in that same state, different hospital system, an intensive care doctor has been fired and nearly two dozen other employees have been placed on leave, including pharmacists and nurses. The Associated Press reports it all stemmed from the doctor who ordered dozens of patients be given potentially lethal doses of pain medication over the course of several years. Doses for another half a dozen patients were reportedly larger than necessary to simply provide comfort for the patients, but probably isn’t what caused their deaths. Continue reading

In what is believed to be one of the largest Florida wrongful death awards in the state’s history, three of the men convicted in connection with the shooting death of a 19-year-old former classmate have been ordered to pay $500 million. Of course, as our Fort Lauderdale wrongful death attorneys can explain, it’s highly unlikely her family will receive anything close to that, as the claims were based on an intentional tort, for which insurers will not pay. What it does, as her family’s wrongful death attorney explained, is hold the men personally liable financially.Fort Lauderdale wrongful death attorneys

Most Florida wrongful death or injury claims stemming from an assault or battery are filed against third parties for torts of negligence such as inadequate security. Liability insurers often will provide coverage (at least theoretically) for negligent acts that made plaintiff/decedent vulnerable to a criminal attack. Direct claims can be filed against a person for offenses like assault, false imprisonment, battery and homicide, meaning their personal assets and earnings will be subject to collection to fulfill the judgment. It is different than restitution, which is ordered by criminal courts.

In some cases, wrongful death attorneys will advise against pursuing an intentional tort claim against the attacker/wrongdoer unless he or she is independently wealthy. The reason is there may be no real gain even if the jury awards you a substantial sum. Plus, personal injury and wrongful death debts can sometimes be discharged in a subsequent bankruptcy proceeding. However, crime victims may have power in that scenario as a “creditor” in an adversary proceeding, asking the bankruptcy court to declare an ordinarily dischargeable debt instead nondischargeable. Injury or wrongful death verdicts resulting from the bankruptcy petitioner’s willful or malicious acts can be grounds for the court to deny discharge of this debt. Continue reading

Following several tourist injuries and at least one death, a Bahamian-headquartered cruise line docking in the Port of Miami is being sued by multiple plaintiffs who say they encountered an unreasonable risk of danger at an on-shore zip line excursion in Honduras. As with many excursions advertised by large cruise lines, this one was offered by a third-party independent contractor. However, plaintiffs allege firstly they were misled in marketing materials to believe the cruise line itself was the operator. Furthermore, these tourists say the cruise company should have known the zip line excursion wasn’t safe because numerous cruise ship guests suffered tourist injuries on it. Miami tourist injury attorneys know that if they can prove both of these elements, they may have a decent shot at recovering damages for their injuries.Miami tourist injury lawyer

In July, a newlywed groom on that zip line crashed into his brand new bride, suffering serious injuries that proved fatal. The Miami New Times reports that prior to that incident, there were at least 10 people who sustained severe injuries while on the excursion facilitated by Royal Caribbean, which received complaints after each incident.

Zip lining is arguably one of those recreational activities, such as rock climbing or mountain biking or snow skiing, that by their very nature present some sort of risk of an accident or injury. Defendants will often argue the “assumption of risk” doctrine, meaning they assumed the inherent risk when they chose to do that activity anyway. Such assertions can be especially bolstered if the claimant signed a waiver of liability. Such waivers don’t completely shield defendants from liability (particularly for gross negligence), but they can be useful for the defense. However, in the case of this Honduran-based excursion, the numerous federal lawsuits indicate a pattern of problems that went beyond what one might assume while zip lining. Rather, the allegations are that this particular zip lining excursion was especially dangerous – even for zip lining – and that Royal Caribbean knew about it yet failed to protect future guests from being hurt either by terminating their contract with the zip lining company or warning guests of the potential dangers or prior accidents.  Continue reading

Florida theme parks – Disney, Universal, Legoland and more – owe a duty of care to adequately warn visitors of possible danger, whether it’s a slippery walking surface or a ride with jerks and jolts that could be dangerous to someone with a heart condition or who is pregnant. In fact, as businesses that invite members of the public on site for the benefit of the property owner, these companies owe visitors the highest duty of care to patrons. But what does it mean to provide “adequate warning”? Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyers know there is a good argument to be made that an adequate warning at a theme park that attracts visitors from around the globe is one that is provided in numerous languages.amusement park injury lawyer

This is the allegation in a recent wrongful death lawsuit filed against Universal Studios Orlando by the family of a Guatemalan man who suffered a fatal heart attack in 2016 shortly after exiting a suspense-filled roller coaster-type ride featuring animatronics and 3D screens, the rider seated in a “truck” as they speed through the scenes of the recent King Kong films. Decedent, a man in his 50s, reportedly had prior heart problems – a risk factor outlined in prominent warning signs just before riders board. However, decedent was unable to read those warnings because they were written entirely in English, while he understood only Spanish.  Continue reading

When a Florida drunk driver causes serious injury to his or her passengers, occupants of other vehicles or non-occupants, such as pedestrians and bicyclists, it is likely that driver will be named as a defendant in both a criminal and civil case. As Florida DUI injury lawyers at The Ansara Law Firm can explain, these are two totally different processes in different courts pursued for different purposes. However, that does not mean one will have no impact on the other. One of the most notable is the issue of compelling defendant’s testimony in a civil lawsuit, which then becomes public record that can be used against him or her in the pending criminal case. But of course, the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution gives those accused of criminal wrongdoing the right to remain silent to avoid self-incrimination. That silence and refusal to answer questions cannot be used against them for the jury to infer wrongdoing.Fort Lauderdale DUI injury lawyer

Courts in Florida have held that defendants in wrongful death lawsuits can invoke their Fifth Amendment right during the civil litigation process if compelling that testimony could potentially amount to self-incrimination in the pending criminal case. However, as noted in the 1976 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Baxter v. Palmgiano, the Fifth Amendment doesn’t guarantee negative inferences against a defendant in a civil lawsuit when they refuse to answer pertinent questions regarding the evidence against them. This doesn’t mean the judge or jury in the civil DUI injury lawsuit can simply point to defendant’s refusal to answer questions and declare that alone as basis for a decision in plaintiff’s favor. However, the court is entitled to draw inferences against a defendant who chooses to invoke the Fifth Amendment right to silence. In U.S. ex rel. Bilokumsky v. Tod in 1923, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that, “silence is often evidence of the most persuasive character.”

Fort Lauderdale DUI injury lawyers can use this to their advantage in drunk driving civil litigation.  Continue reading

Florida wrongful death cases involving nursing home patients is often the result of sepsis, a blood infection that can stem from untreated bedsores – among other signs of abject nursing home neglect. That’s according to a recent analysis reported by Kaiser Health News, which took note that nursing home resident hospitalizations for sepsis-related care ending in death were much more common than those for other conditions. Nursing home wrongful death attorneys in Fort Lauderdale recognize that while no one is nationally tracking how often these infections turn fatal, one recent federal report by Definitive Health Care revealed care related to sepsis was the No. 1 reason given for transfers of nursing home residents to hospitals. wrongful death sepsis

Many Fort Lauderdale wrongful death lawsuits stem from the fact that year after year, nursing homes are failing to prevent bedsores and other sorts of infections known to lead to sepsis. These patients endure, painful, stressful hospital treatments for sepsis, with injury and wrongful death attorneys often arguing it should never have happened in the first place.

The analysis examined data related to nursing home residents who were transferred to hospitals and later died. Of those, roughly 25,000 suffered from sepsis (among other conditions), costing medicare some $2 billion a year (based on four-years’ worth of information). Of those who suffered from sepsis, 1 in 5 did not survive. The scope of such a public health problem, researchers say, is “enormous.” Just a single sepsis-related hospital stay at the end of one nursing home patient’s life cost more than $400,000.  Continue reading

Families of four tourists who died in a South Florida truck accident are seeking damages in a negligence lawsuit filed in a federal court against the company that employed the truck driver who struck the tourists’ vehicle in a rear-end collision. The impact launched the women’s car into oncoming traffic, where they were again struck, killing them all instantly.Fort Lauderdale truck accident attorney

The Miami Herald reports the women were attempting to make a left turn on Tea Table Bridge in the Florida Keys in March. As they waited to make their turn, the large truck hauling portable toilets hit them from behind, propelling their small car into the opposing lane, where it was then struck by the driver of a mobile home. The women were all wearing their seat belts, but according to state highway patrol investigators, it didn’t matter because the impact to the passenger side was so severe and so deep. It was so horrific that it was only once the troopers had cleared the scene they discovered the body of the fourth victim inside the vehicle. They had been visiting from Spain. The driver of the truck that rear-ended them was given a citation for careless driving. Continue reading

In any Florida wrongful death lawsuit, we’ll need to decide which claims are viable – and who the claimants should be, as only certain individuals and entities have a legal right to pursue damages after someone’s death. With some exceptions, these include the decedent’s:

  • Surviving spouse;
  • Children in being at death (with the law considering them minors until age 25 and no recovery allowed for adult children if action is based in medical malpractice);
  • Parents of a minor child under 25 (may recovery mental pain and suffering);
  • Decedent’s estate. wrongful death attorney

That last one can be tricky because it may ultimately benefit some of the same survivors who collected under other claims. While survivors may claim lost wages and loss of consortium, the estate in some cases may have a separate claim that might consist of lost earnings, lost net accumulations and medical or funeral expenses. An estate’s lost earnings of decedent would span from the date of injury to the date of death – less any amount of monetary support – that a survivor lost during that period. Continue reading

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