Articles Tagged with wrongful death attorney Fort Lauderdale

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

Good Samaritans are often lauded when they intervene in potentially perilous situations to help others. But are there grounds to assert negligence for those who fail to intervene in such circumstances? gun

This is what is being alleged in a wrongful death lawsuit in Ohio, where a woman and her two daughters were gunned down by her husband at a Cracker Barrel restaurant after a heated confrontation that ensued when she told him she was leaving him. The family had gone to the restaurant for a birthday dinner with their two 10-year-old girls when the events took a turn. The husband reportedly threatened to, “kill them all,” shouted an expletive while paying for the bill, accidentally dropped several shotgun shells from his pocket. According to the wrongful death lawsuit, filed by the woman’s brother, the girls’ uncle, the mother called a friend and the police and begged the manger to allow her and her daughters to hide in the restaurant’s walk-in cooler. The manager allegedly refused the request, telling her the restaurant doesn’t get involved in domestic disputes.

Her husband returned with a shotgun and killed her and her two daughters, who were hiding in the restroom. Police then shot and killed the gunman. An attorney for plaintiff alleges the woman and her daughters were left to take care of themselves in a dangerous situation. He cited the protocol that many chain restaurants and retail facilities have to deal with violent or active shooter situations, and argued that such incidents, while terrifying, are in fact foreseeable.  Continue reading

There are approximately 4,000 large truck and bus crashes annually in the U.S., with most resulting in at least one serious injury or death. These vehicles are prevalent on our nation’s highways, where they cause significant wear-and-tear on the roads. Poor road conditions contribute to about half of all fatal crashes in the U.S., according to a study by the Transportation Construction Coalition, making it a more significant contributing factor than drunk driving, speeding or failure to wear seat belts. trucks

All this makes the latest report from TRIP all the more troubling. TRIP is a national research group based in D.C. The latest study opines a $740 billion backlog in infrastructure spending in order fr our nation’s roads, bridges and highways to be safe. Researchers further noted that the deterioration of roads is going to happen even faster as the rate of vehicle travel continues pick up and local and state governments find themselves coming up short to fully fund needed maintenance and repairs.

The shortfall was tallied by an analysis of data complied by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), as well as state and federal bridge and road condition information.  Continue reading

It was late September when Miami Marlins’ star pitcher Jose Fernandez and two friends were killed in a boat crash off Miami Beach. Now, the latest report from the Miami-Dade County Medical Examiner’s Office is that Fernandez was legally drunk with a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.147, and he also had cocaine in his system. However, authorities have not yet been able to determine who exactly was driving the boat at the time it crashed into a rocky jetty around 3:15 a.m. The two others who died had blood-alcohol levels that were below the legal limit. Fernandez was the owner of the boat. boat

Last year, according to the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) there were 737 reported boating accidents, resulting in 55 deaths and 438 injuries. Miami-Dade County had the highest number of accidents and injuries (96 total accidents and 74 injuries and 3 fatalities), while May was the month with the most accidents overall (92). Alcohol or drug use was reported to have played a role in 19 percent of all fatal Florida boating accidents.

A pair of bills proposed during the 2015 state legislative session would have aligned BUI (boating under the influence) with those of DUI (driving under the influence). As it now stands, both first- and second-time offenders of both crimes face the same amount in fines and jail time. However, DUI repercussions are lot more severe than those received for BUI. For example, BUI does not affect a person’s driving record. What’s more, BUI convictions are not considered to be “prior convictions” in future DUI cases. Additionally, BUI convictions aren’t reported to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. To treat these two offenses the same, said state Rep. Gayle Harrell, sponsor of one measure, “just made a lot of sense.”  Continue reading

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