Articles Posted in wrongful death

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In most Florida wrongful death lawsuits, it’s often a simple matter to link defendant (the person alleged to be legally at-fault) with the conduct that resulted in death. For example: A drunk driver swerves off the road and slams into a tree, killing a passenger. The defendant’s negligent conduct caused the passenger’s death.wrongful death

It can get complicated, though, when we’re dealing with liability for a loved one’s suicide. This is where that causal link (referred to in court as “causation”) becomes difficult to prove. A person who commits suicide is the direct cause of his or her own death. But the question becomes: Was defendant’s action or inaction a substantial factor in decedent’s suicide? Courts will also ask whether decedent’s actions were reasonably foreseeable. There are no hard-and-fast rules for when a defendant may be legally liable for someone else’s suicide, but we have noticed an increase in such cases.

Recently in Wakulla County, the parents of a 15-year-old who tragically committed suicide have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the school and one of his middle school teachers. The lawsuit alleges the teacher and the school are party to blame for the teen’s death following allegations of inappropriate contact between the teacher and the 8th-grader. Continue reading →

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When personal injury or wrongful death is caused by the reckless or careless actions of another, a negligence action may allow those affected to recover damages. However, plaintiffs (those who were wronged) need to pay careful attention to the statute of limitations in their case. That means knowing exactly what kind of case they have, who the defendant is and when the cause of action occurred. wrongful death lawyer

A good wrongful death attorney can help you navigate this complex field of law to ascertain what your rights are and when you must act. Failure to take action within the allotted time will result in total forfeiture of the claim. A plaintiff might have the strongest case ever, but if it isn’t timely filed, it will be forever barred.

A recent case out of Alaska had this unfortunate outcome, illustrating why it’s so important to seek prompt legal assistance with your case. Alaska, like Florida has strict limitations when it comes to when a personal injury or wrongful death claim can be filed. In Florida, F.S. 95.11 prohibits any personal injury lawsuit from being filed after four years of the cause of action (time of injury) or two years for any wrongful death action. Alaska also has a two-year statute of limitations on wrongful death cases. The time limit varies from state-to-state.  Continue reading →

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A defendant amusement park missed the deadline to seek compensation from the school of an 11-year-old girl killed in accident at the park, but it can still try to prove the school was partially negligent in a pending trial brought by the girl’s parents. wrongful death lawyer

That’s according to a recent ruling by the New Jersey Supreme Court. The decision was notable for the fact that it holds third-party claims against the government to the same standards for tort claim notice as first-party claims. In New Jersey, there is a 90-day deadline to file a notice – starting at the time of a victim’s death – to the defendant government agency and its subdivisions. Still, it’s a disappointing outcome for the plaintiff parents because the ruling will allow defendant amusement park to present evidence of the school’s potential liability, which could reduce its own liability and ultimately reduce damages awarded to plaintiffs.

The tragic events that spurred this case began in 2011, when the girl was on a school field trip hosted for honor roll students. The trip was organized by the school. She died after falling approximately 150 feet from a large Ferris wheel. Two years after the fifth-grader’s death, within the statute of limitations for wrongful death cases, her parents filed their wrongful death lawsuit.  Continue reading →

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Negligent security lawsuits are increasingly being filed as their is a growing recognition of the responsibility property owners have to tenants and patrons.

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Most of these lawsuits involve some type of assault and battery crime, though roughly a quarter stem from sexual assaults and about 15 percent from wrongful death claims. Robberies, home invasions and false imprisonment cases, too, could be the basis of a negligent security claim. The majority of plaintiffs are usually customers or guests of businesses, though some are also employees. A slim percentage are trespassers. Research has shown plaintiffs are more often prevailing in these cases.

One case in Florida that has gained some attention involve the 2014 murder-suicide in which a mother and son were shot and killed in an apparent robbery by a man who soon after turned the gun on himself. Continue reading →

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Little more than a year ago, the driver of a van full of churchgoers ran a stop sign and crashed in a shallow body of water off a Florida highway in Glades County, killing eight of the 18 passengers inside.van5

Now, authorities say the driver may have been impaired by over-the-counter antihistamines. Investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) weren’t able to uncover much information about the amount of sleep the driver had prior to the van crash in March 2015, so determining whether that was a factor was difficult. However, drug and alcohol testing on the driver did not reveal the presence of any other potentially impairing substances.

We do know that the passenger van lacked seat belts (only the driver and front seat passenger were belted in), the vehicle was overloaded and it was late at night. The passengers were members of the Fort Pierce Independent Haitian Assembly of God and were on their back from a Palm Sunday celebration at a sister church in Lee County, the Eglise de Dieu La Jerusalem Celeste.  Continue reading →

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Concerns about bus and motor coach safety have increased in recent years with a number of high-profile accidents, many resulting in multiple fatalities. busdriver1

Motor coaches are widely used for a variety of trips, including school sporting events, family vacations and outings for seniors. But a number of serious crashes have prompted the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) to recommend the Federal Motor Carrier Administration (FMCSA) work with bus operators and the trucking industry to implement improved commercial vehicle safety measures that would include:

  • Flame-resistant interiors;
  • Data recorders;
  • A second door for emergency evacuations;
  • Pre-trip safety briefings for passengers;
  • Windows that can stay open during evacuation.

Continue reading →

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They are supposed to ease the pain and suffering of those recovering from an on-the-job injury. Increasingly, doctors are turning to opiod pain medications to help treat those who are hurt at work. pillswhite

But even though a new National Safety Council report shows a quarter of all workers’ compensation prescription drug claim costs were for opiod pain medications, that same research reveals those who take these powerful medications don’t have better treatment outcomes. In fact, they are more susceptible to addiction, overdose and even death.

So where can workers and/or their families turn when these medications lead to serious adverse affects? The answer can be legally complex, depending on who prescribed the drugs and why. A number of recent court decisions have held that under some situations where injured workers have suffered overdoses as a result of pain medications they were receiving for work injuries, the workers’ compensation insurer may be liable to cover medical expenses. lost wages and if applicable, death benefits. Continue reading →

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A commissioner for the City of Portland, Ore. has received an agreement to settle one of the pending wrongful death actions for the loss of her husband for $1.45 million. The settlement was reached with the Oregon Department Transportation following a head-on collision in September 2014 on a stretch of interstate with no cable median barriers. Another $750,000 was paid by the state to the family of the front seat passenger, who also died.highway7

Another $9.5 million lawsuit against two other drivers is still pending.

Additionally, decedent’s widow pushed hard for legislative action that would specifically require the Department of Transportation to finish erecting median barriers on 100 miles of unprotected highway identified as prone to deadly cross-over crashes, such as the one that killed decedent. Senate Bill 921, known as the “Fritz-Fairchild Act,” was passed by both legislative bodies, signed by the governor and codified in Chapter 275 of the state’s 2015 laws. It becomes effective Jan. 1, 2016. The measure will specifically target a dangerous, unbarricaded stretch of interstate that has been neglected for years as political priorities shifted. This was despite the DOT being aware of the need for updates as far back as 1996.

These new changes will cost an additional $20 million. Continue reading →

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Homeowners’ insurance is intended to provide compensation to those injured by members of the household. Usually, this coverage extends to incidents that occur in the home, on the property and sometimes out on the street (though incidents involving motor vehicles are generally excluded).handcuffs3

However, almost all homeowners’ insurance policies have some provision that excludes coverage for intentional acts. That is, if an insured acted with some specific intent to injure the victim, the resulting injury will not be covered under the policy. Many courts have held the intention of the insured is a question of fact for a jury, though sometimes there is substantial evidence and intent to harm (or lack thereof) is clear.

There may be some cases, however, where even intentional criminal acts could be covered. For example, if the perpetrator was acting in self-defense and used more force than was actually needed, coverage might be extended. Same for actions for which the accused lacks the mental capacity to act rationally. But it will all depend on the specific language in the policy. Continue reading →

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A woman was traveling less than a mile from her home to her son’s daycare in Arkansas when her vehicle hit a patch of black ice near an intersection. She careened into a nearby pond, and immediately called 911. Frantic as she and her 5-year-old sunk deeper into the icy water, the woman waited for emergency response that would be too late for her. icypond

It took 53 minutes from the time she placed the call until firefighters and police arrived. She was deceased when they pulled her out. Her son did survive initially, but was critically ill and suffered brain damage. He died two years later from injuries related to the crash.

His father filed two wrongful death lawsuits against the city for failed emergency response. The first case, Yang v. Little Rock City, et al., was filed in 2013 on behalf of his son. A second lawsuit with the same name, Yang v. Little Rock City of, et al., was filed this year on behalf of his wife. The lawsuits allege the long delay in the arrival of a water rescue team meant his wife and son suffered prolonged exposure to cold water, which ultimately led to their deaths. He asserts this delay was preventable, and could be attributed in large part to a single employee who was known to have serious performance issues, even before she was hired. Continue reading →