Articles Posted in Alcohol & Drug Issues

suv_110002376-012814-intIn Florida and other states, children are put at risk by negligent drivers. This is especially true when a driver decides to take the wheel even after a day or night of drinking or drug use. Any given time during the day or night, cars on the road with children as passengers and many with teen drivers. When a person takes the wheel under the influence of alcohol or drugs, these actions but put the safety, health, and welfare of children and adults alike in harms way. When a child is injured in an automobile accident as a result of the negligence of a drunk driver, the child has legal rights to pursue case for compensation for the damages associated with the personal injuries.
It should be noted that when evaluating a potential case. There are essentially two ways to view the case. One way involves a legal analysis. The other way involves a practical evaluation. There may be a legal case to pursue but for practical reasons like the lack of available liability insurance – there may be practical reasons not to pursue a legal case related to a drunk driving automobile accident. As a Florida Child Injury Lawyer, I am often often called upon to review cases involving injuries.  As part of my evaluation, I always consider both the legal elements combined with the practicalities of pursuing such a case.   As a law student at the University of Florida over 25 years ago, the focus of my law school education was on the legal elements required to prove a case.  Back when I attended law school, there was not much emphasis on the practical aspects or expected financial results or recovery of such a case. While the legal analysis of the case is important, the real world is the real world.  For parents dealing with the aftermath of a Florida automobile accident causing serious personal injuries, the real world involved the practical problems and challenges of dealing with medical bills, medical treatment, pain and suffering, and injuries that could and do impact a child for a lifetime.
When a child is injured as a result of a drunk driving accident, a child has the right to recover monetary damages for these medical bills – past and future as well as the non-economic damages related to pain, suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and mental anguish.  Typically, a Florida Child Injury Lawyer will focus on the available automobile insurance in order to recover these damages.   Certainly, a drunk driver can be sued for the entire value of the case. A judgment can be obtained which means that there was a court determination via a jury verdict or a bench (judge) verdict which requires the defendant to pay damages to the injured child.  However, it should be noted that the actual collection or recovery of said judgement is quite something different.   Because of the complexities of these matters, a parent should seek the advice, guidance, and representation from a Florida Child Injury Lawyer.

Wrongful Death Book Cover.001When a child is born, parents have the dream and expectation that the child will live a long and successful life.  Of course, it is impossible to either predict or control the future; however, with good parenting and a motivated child, success and a good life are certainable attainable.  The dream, of course, can be shattered by unexpected events and tragedies like a Florida Automobile Accident.  Children can be seen travelling as passengers in vehicles in every community.  Most of us have seen the signs or bumper stickers on cars that state “Baby On Board”.  This is a message to remind other drivers to drive with due caution and at a safe speed.   Of course, all drivers should be attentive to road conditions, traffic, and other vehicles.  In the flash of a moment, a crash can take place.  It can be because of excessive speed, carelessness, distracted driving, and other reasons.  Whatever the reason, when a crash takes place, children can and do suffer personal injuries.  Many children tragically die as a result of Florida Automobile Accidents.
When a child dies a result of an automobile accident, a parent can pursue a cause of action pursuant to the Florida Wrongful Death Act.  There are special provisions in the Florida Statutes and case law that apply to the death of a child.  A parent can bring an action for the wrongful death of a child and seek damages for the loss of the child including loss of services, mental anguish, and loss of enjoyment of life.  It should be pointed out that while the child’s suffering is germaine to the case – it is the loss of the parent that matters.  If the parent had a close relationship with the child, that will be taken into consideration when pursuing the case.  Is there really any form of compensation that will fairly compensate a parent for the untimely and preventable death of a child?  This is, of course, a loaded question of sorts.  However, the pursuit of a civil case for the wrongful death of a child does come down to money or compensation.  At some point in the case, the issue of compensation will be discussed.  If a settlement can be worked out, then the case can resolve without having to go through the stress of a trial; however, if a settlement cannot be reached, a parent can seek recourse / compensation through a trial.  As a Child Injury Lawyer, I am asked if other family members can also seek compensation like a brother or sister.  The simple answer is No.  The parents are the statutory survivors of a minor child.   There are circumstances where the minor child,  which is defined as a child under the age of 25 years old, has a child.   Under these circumstances, a wrongful death case can be pursued on behalf of the surviving parent and the surviving offspring of the minor child.  The Florida Wrongful Death Act is not a voluminous law by any means but there are some twists and turns to the statute.  As such, it makese sense for parents to seek the advice, counsel, and legal representation from a Florida Child Injury Lawyer when dealing with the aftermath of the death of a child.
The book titled – When a Parent’s World Goes From Full to Empty – The Wrongful Death of Child – What You Need to Know About the Florida Wrongful Death Act – covers general provisions of the statute, the pursuit of a wrongful death case, the assessment of damages, and other matters. You can get this book for free at When a Parent’s World Goes From Full to Empty.

fire%20rescue%20red%20paramedic%20vehicle.jpgIn Florida and other cases, there are legal ramifications when a DUI (Driving Under the Influence) accident leads to the personal injuries or death of a driver, passenger, or pedestrian. Even a few drinks can lead to a serious crash and have an impact on the lives of accident victims and family members. Here are the legal cases that may be involved with a DUI accident that result in personal injuries and / or a wrongful death:

1. Criminal Case. The local police and State Attorney’s office can prosecute a driver for DUI under the applicable criminal statutes. Florida has an established .08 alcohol level as the presumed impairment level for a person who drinks and then drives. Keep in mind that a person who has been charged with a DUI is entitled to representation from a Florida Criminal Defense attorney or the Public Defender’s office. Evidence can be challenged and questioned as part of the criminal defense on the case. While restitution can be part of a plea deal or sentence, restitution is typically limited to out of pocket expenses rather than those associated with pain, suffering, mental anguish, and related damages. The family of a injured person or deceased person from a DUI incident can have input into the prosecution of the criminal defense but the ultimate decision as to a plea deal is left to the State Attorney / Prosecutor and then to the Judge presiding on the criminal case. The results or resolution of the criminal case are not necessarily binding on the pursuit of a civil case for damages / injuries caused by the DUI automobile accident.

2. Driver’s License. There are specific Florida Statutes in place that deal with the suspension or revocation of a driver’s license following a DUI accident. The suspension of the driver’s license is often times connected to the criminal case. The administration and supervision of the issuance of driver’s licenses is handled by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. This is technically an administrative type of proceeding which is different than the civil and / or criminal case involving the Florida DUI Automobile Accident.

fire%20rescue%20red%20paramedic%20vehicle.jpgIn the State of Florida, a person is considered an “adult” for a number of legal purposes when the person reaches the age of 18. While a person may be 18 years old and considered an adult for a number of purposes, the person does not stop at the point in time of the 18th birthday of being a son or daughter. The bond of a parent and child certainly continues well beyond the 18th birthday. Once a child graduates high school, many are fortunate enough through hard work and long hours of study of being able to attend college. For many, the future is bright for a young adult who puts in the time and effort to attend college, increase his or her knowledge base, and graduate with a college degree. It seems for some that the opportunities are many in number. When a college student dies in an automobile accident as a result of the negligence of others, the dreams are dismantled and grief and dispair set in for the parents and other family members. It is tragic that a young adult with such a bright future dies on or near Florida roadways due to the negligence of others. Many of these accidents are certainly avoidable especially those that involve a DUI or the action of drinking and driving on the part of the at fault driver / party.

When a college student or other person dies in the State of Florida as a result of the negligence of another person, a case can be pursued pursuant to the Florida Wrongful Death Act. For purposes of the Florida Wrongful Death Act, a “minor child” is defined as a child under the age of 25 years old. As such, the parent of a child who dies as a result of the negligence of others can pursue a case or claim for the pain, suffering, loss of companionship, loss of services, and other damages related to the wrongful death.

Florida Wrongful Death cases can be quite complicated. Because of this, it is important for a parent to contact a Child Injury Lawyer for advice, consultation, and legal representation. The book titled – When a Parent’s World Goes From Full to Empty – The Wrongful Death of a Child – What You Need to Know About The Florida Wrongful Death Act. This book covers issues including the steps needed to file a lawsuit, the role of the personal representative of the estate, damages recoverable, life expectancy, and other issues. You can get this book for free at From Full to Empty.

vehicle%20car%20keys%20alarm%20black.jpgIn Florida, it is quite tragic when a child dies as a result of an automobile accident. This is especially true when the at fault driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the accident. When there is a wrongful death as a result of a DUI automobile accident, there are a number of legal issues and challenges for a family to deal with. Often times, it is helpful for the family of the deceased child to have a Florida Child Injury Lawyer for guidance, consultation, and legal representation on these matters. Legal issues involved with a Florida Wrongful Death Case involving the death of a child include but are not limited to the following:

Criminal Case. The parents of a deceased child are often called upon to testify at a criminal trial or sentencing hearing regarding the tragic loss of the child. While the prosecutors ultimately decide whether to try the case or offer a plea bargain, the parents are often times consulted as to their thoughts as to the criminal prosecution and sentencing of the criminal defendant. A Florida Child Injury Lawyer can help answer any questions about the criminal prosecution and also appear with the parents at any hearings or court proceedings regarding the DUI prosecution. Restitution may be awarded for economic damages or bills associated with the death of the child.

Victim of Crimes Compensation Act. The parents may qualify for compensation under the Victims of Crimes Compensation Act. The parents should check with the prosecutor’s office about this benefit or speak to a Florida Child Injury Lawyer or the victim’s advocate connected with the prosecutor’s / state attorney’s office.

alcohol%20different%20color%20mixed%20drinks%20intoxication.jpgOn college campuses across the United States including those in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina, there is a dangerous tradition of sorts that puts college students at risk for personal injuries and, in some instances, even death – excessive drinking. Even when a child enters college, there are still times when the child lacks good judgment and safety awareness. This is especially true when it comes to drinking and parties. Whether due to peer pressure or other influences, the level of alcohol consumption at a party or other event can present dangers and risks. Tragically, in some cases, the excessive drinking leads to serious personal injuries and even the deaths of college students.

In some instances, a legal case may be pursued if the party was hosted by an organization, fraternity, or other group. If it can be shown that there was negligence on the part of others that significantly contributed to the alcohol over drinking or binging, there may be a legal case to pursue on behalf of the injured college student or of the family of the college student if a death resulted from the over drinking. There may also be aggravating factors when the student was under the legal drinking age at the time of the incident.

A tragic death was recently reported of a college football player from St. Augustine, Florida. It was reported that Kyle Allen, who was attending Presbyterian College, was found unconscious in a fraternity house. The incident took place in Clinton, South Carolina. Kyle was a well liked and popular student at St. Augustine’s Menendez High School where he also played football. He carried this personality and his aspirations onto college at Presbyterian College. The death of Kyle Allen will be deeply felt in St. Augustine (St Johns County), Florida, his neighborhood, the college campus, and the community. See Football Player Died of Complications Due to Alcohol Intoxication.

alcohol%20different%20color%20mixed%20drinks%20intoxication.jpgThe Delta Delta Delta Sorority from the University of Central Florida, located in Orlando, was recently put on probation for the alleged alcohol related death of a freshman student. Anne Hefferin, a member of the campus Tri Delt, sorority attended a fraternity party with Sigma Chi on August 24. The next morning Hefferin was found by her roommates unconscious in an apartment on the UCF campus. She died later that day. According to Hefferin’s roommates, it was evident that she had been drinking.

The University is investigating the cause of death to determine what part (if any) the fraternity and the sorority played in the death of Hefferin’s death. It has been determined that alcohol was available at the fraternity the night the party. This is a direct violation of the University of Central Florida’s alcohol policy.

This is not the first incident involving alcohol and the Delta Delta Delta sorority In April, the sorority was sited by the University for alcohol related violations.

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In Jacksonville, Florida, a 2 year old boy died when he came in contact with Methadone that was stashed in his sippy cup by one of his caregivers. The caregiver – Dana Michell Anderson, according to news reports, admitted to leaving 80 mg of Methadone in the sippy cup. When the father arrived home, he found the child (Masia Wright) unresponsive. The father took the boy to the hospital who was pronounced dead on arrival. Subsequently, the caregiver was charged with Aggravated Manslaughter.

The use of drugs and / or alcohol by any child care provider can lead to poor supervision and poor judgment in caring for children. While there is no indication that there was any intent to harm the child, the end result is still that that a child died.

You can read more about this story at Child ODs on Methadone Left in his Purple Sippy Cup.

solo%20cups.jpgHouse parties are popular among Florida teens. In many instances, these parties provide teenagers with a method to consumer alcohol and other drugs. However, many Florida parents need to be aware of Florida’s “open house party” law effective since 1991. Pursuant to this law, if any person under the age of 21-years-old is caught drinking or using other drugs at a party in your home or on your property you could be arrested and charged with a second-degree misdemeanor. You could face up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.

This law has recently come to light after two sets of parents in Boca Raton, Florida were arrested for hosted post-homecoming parties, where alcohol was present. According to the police reports, the parents said they either were unaware that alcohol was at the party or that it was brought by a mob of uninvited party crashers. The parents arrested were Shlomo and Jeannie Rasabi and Paul and Ingrid Paolino, both of Boca Raton, Florida.

According to the Rasabi’s attorney, Adam Harmelin, the Rasabi’s went above and beyond what the law requires by providing security at the private homecoming party the Rasabi’s held for their two sons, aged 16 and 17. What must be proved by the State of Florida is that the parents knew there was alcohol on the premise, the alcohol was being consumed by minors and the parents did nothing to stop the underage consumption. According to the Florida Supreme Court, parents could avoid being charged if they ended the party or took other steps to stop the alcohol or drug use. If you would like to read more on this story please see Florida parents need to know Florida’s “Open House Party” Law.

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In Escambia County (Pensacola), Florida, there was an accident involving a van and a bus transporting students from Pine Forest High School. It was reported that the van sideswiped the school bus that was occupied by the high school students. Drivers should always be alert when driving on Florida highways. This is especially important when there are children and school buses in the area. Florida Highway Patrol believes that alcohol may have been a cause or element of this crash. A high school student and a bus attendant were taken to an Escambia county hospital. See 2 Injured in Escambia County School Board Crash.