Articles Posted in Statutory References (Florida)

Scales of Justice - Yellow and BlueIn Florida, cases handled on behalf of minor children for personal injuries are subject to certain laws, rules, and regulations. The overall purpose of these laws is to protect the financial interests of child. It is important that the attorney / lawyer handling a child injury case be experienced and knowledgeable about the Florida law and to make sure that all laws, procedures, and practices are followed in order to act in the best interest of the minor child.   When handling a case on behalf of a minor child, there should be a high level of advocacy and protection kept in mind at all times to enforce and protect the legal rights of the injured child.
If a tentative settlement is reached on behalf of a minor child, court approval will be required if the settlement exceeds $15,000.  This is the law in Florida pursuant to Section 744.301, Florida Statutes and Section 744.3025, Florida Statutes.  If the child will receive a net settlement in excess of $15,000 – then the court will require a guardianship of the property in order to safeguard  and secure the funds.   The funds for this guardianship will then need to be held in a restricted depository.  No funds can be withdraw from this account without court order.  It should be noted that the settlement funds belong to the child and not the parent.  Settlement funds are not in place to pay rent, car payments, grocery bills, . . . .  
These are ordinary expenses that a parent has a duty to pay.   The funds are for extraordinary expenses like unexpected medical bills, tutoring, etc. . . Even for these extraordinary expenses, a court order will be required to access any funds from the guardianship restricted account.   Ideally, the funds are not spent or used during the child’s minority and at the age of 18 – the child will have some funds to purchase a vehicle, pay for college, or otherwise use the funds as he or she deems fit.  Again, the settlement funds belong to the child and not the parent. 


IFire Rescue Graphic Blue in Squaren Jacksonville and North Florida, there are a number of bridges (large and small) that connect commuters to various areas over and beyond major waterways like the St. Johns River and the Intercoastal.   Once such bridge is the Buckman Bridge.  Construction began on the Buckman Bridge in 1964 and the Buckman Bridge was completed in 1970.  The bridge spans over 16,000 square feet and connects the areas of Mandarin – San Jose (Duval County) to Orange Park (Clay County).

While driving upon any large bridge, there are many safety issues and problems that can arise.  Traffic, congestion, and visibility can be factors that lead to crashes. Another problem inherent in bridge traffic is the inability to pull off the roadway to safety when there is a vehicle approaching that is about to cause a rear end accident.   Tragically, there are crashes upon North Florida bridges that lead to serious personal injuries and even death.  One such crash that took place on March 2, 2015 had the effect of shutting down a major part of Jacksonville / Orange Park traffic because the Buckman Bridge was closed to manage and investigate the crash scene.

Action News and other media outlets reported that a semi-tractor trailer crashed into a SUV just before 2:00 p.m. in the afternoon.  It was reported that the driver of the large commercial tractor trailer noticed that traffic was slowing but was unable to bring his truck to a stop.   This, in turn, led to a rear end type of crash.  Thereafer, the SUV caught on fire and 4 occupants of this SUV died at the crash scene.  It was reported that the 4 crash victims included 2 adults and 2 children. A second SUV was also involved in this Florida Automobile Accident.  The 3 occupants of this vehicle were later treated at a local hospital for non life threatening personal injuries.  You can read more about this Buckman Bridge crash at 4 Dead and 3 Injured in Buckman Bridge Fiery Crash. 

Pick Up Truck SafetyFlorida is a big state when it comes to the ownership and operation of pick up trucks.  According to a study conducted in 2011, Florida ranked third behind California and Texas for the most pick up trucks in a state.  It is common to see a pick up truck in virtually evey neighborhood and community especially in rural areas.  Jacksonville and the surrounding areas have a particulary large number of pick up trucks as do other parts of the State.  While a pick up truck can be quite useful, the pick up truck can also be quite dangerous especially when children ride in the back of a pick up truck. Due to the dangers of passengers occupying the back or bed of a pick up truck, the Florida Legislature adopted Section 316.2014 – Florida Statues which provides the following:

316.2015 Unlawful for person to ride on exterior of vehicle.

(1) It is unlawful for any operator of a passenger vehicle to permit any person to ride on the bumper, radiator, fender, hood, top, trunk, or running board of such vehicle when operated upon any street or highway which is maintained by the state, county, or municipality. Any person who violates this subsection shall be cited for a moving violation, punishable as provided in chapter 318.

State%20Map%20Florida.jpgIn Florida, the best day in a parent’s life is the birth of a child and certainly the worst day is the death of a child. As parents, we work tirelessly to provide for the health, safety, and, well-being for our children. As a parent, the responsibility is both one that is voluntary in nature and done for all of the right reasons. Then in the flash of a moment, a child life’s can end. In some cases, life ends due to the negligence of others. It is certainly a tragedy when a child dies and it could have been prevented. When a child dies, the legal rights of the parents can be enforced through the pursuit of a Florida Wrongful Death case. This type of case can be pursued following an automobile accident, trucking accident, bicycle accident, pedestrian accident, medical malpractice, school injury, day care center injury, or other event caused by the negligence of another person, business, or government entity. Wrongful death cases are handled differently than other types of injury cases in the State of Florida.

A Florida Wrongful Death case is governed by Florida Statutes under Chapter 768. These laws designate the persons who can bring a wrongful death case and which family members are considered survivors under the Florida Wrongful Death Act. Damages are also governed under the Florida Statutes. A parent can seek compensation for the loss of services, companionship, and the pain and suffering associated with the unfortunate and untimely death of the child.

A good resource with parents is the book – When a Parent’s World Goes from Full to Empty – The Wrongful Death of a Child – What You Should Know About The Florida Wrongful Death Act. You can get this book for free at

Motorcycle / Pedestrian Accident Reported in Suwannee County Florida

In Florida, pedestrians are the unfortunate victims of hit and run accidents. One such incident was reported in Suwannee County Florida. A pedestrian was struck by a motorcyclist on Highway 129 and then fled the scene. The pedestrian suffered personal injuries included a dislocated foot. Thereafter, the motorcyclist fled the scene. The Florida Highway Patrol responded to the scene of this pedestrian accident. See Motorcycle – Pedestrian Collide – Motorcyclist Leaves the Scene of the Florida Accident.

Florida law requires that a driver of any vehicle involved in an Florida accident that results in personal injury or death to stop at the accident scene. This legal duty is set forth in the Florida Statutes under Section 316.027. There are many other traffic rules and regulations in place in Florida. See Florida Traffic Rules, Regulations and Laws – Frequently Asked Questions.

State%20Map%20Florida.jpgIn Florida, the death of a child can and does have a life long impact on a parent. While the death of a child in some cases speaks for itself, in most cases, the relationship between the parent and child is explored to determine how close or how distant the relationship was between the parent and child. While there are no formulas per se in place to compensate a parent for the loss or death of a child in Florida, a jury can consider the quality of the relationship and the efforts put in place by the parent to care for and spend time with the child during the child’s lifetime. Typically, the closer the relationship and stronger bond between parent / child result in a larger verdict or settlement in favor of the grieving parent for the untimely and wrongful death of the child. Because of the complexities of a Florida Wrongful Death case, parents should hire a Florida Personal Injury Attorney to review the facts and pursue the case / claim on behalf of the estate and parents.

In Collins v. Florida Towing Corporation Et. Al. , 262 So.2d 459 (Fla. 1st D.C.A. 1972), a lawsuit was filed against the Florida Towing Corporation and Commodores Point Terminal Corporation for the drowning death of a child. The personal representative of the estate of the minor child alleged that the Defendant was negligent by allowing a dangerous condition on the property that constituted an Attractive Nuisance or lure to children in the area. As a result of the alleged negligence or dangerous condition on the property, the plaintiff alleged that the child drowned. Thereafter, the Florida wrongful death lawsuit was filed for damages / compensation for the death of the child. In this case, the jury entered a verdict in favor of the Defendants except for a small award for funeral expenses. The Plaintiff appealed the verdict, in part, due to the admission of evidence that the father had prior to the death of the child abandoned his wife and children to live with another woman at a location that was from from the residence of the wife and children. The Plaintiff argued that the evidence was prejudicial and therefore constituted grounds for a new trial. The First District Court of Appeal ruled that the evidence was admissible and noted that the jury was entitled to know this information in making a determination as to a damage award to the Plaintiff.

In the Collins case, the jury and judge ultimately did not award any compensation for pain and suffering to the parents. In the case, there was a problem with liability as well as the damages suffered by the parent. The Collins case shows that evidence regarding the quality of the relationship as well as acts prior to the death of the child can be considered by the jury in a Florida Wrongful Death case.

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A Florida lawmaker (State Representative Irv Slosberg) is seeking to pass a Florida law that would ban texting while driving. Technology has made great advances over the past decade or so. We can communicate faster and better through devices like laptop computers, iPads and touchscreen devices, and, yes, smart phones like the iPhone and Droid. Unfortunately, these same devices have caused many Florida automobile accidents, Florida bicycle accidents, and Florida pedestrian accidents. Many of these accidents have resulted in serious personal injuries and deaths to children. One such victim texting while driving was James Caskey, Jr. who was riding a tricycle in North Naples when he was struck by a driver who was allegedly texting while driving. See Florida Lawmaker Looks to Ban Texting While Driving.

In Florida, drivers should do their best to limit distracted driving. Wait until you arrive at your destination to respond to that text or e mail. Waiting a few minutes to respond can save a life and avoid a serious Florida automobile accident. Florida drivers should drive with the utmost of caution and otherwise follow Florida’s traffic laws and regulations and pay attention to road conditions and traffic. See Florida Traffic Statutes, Rules and Regulations – Frequently Asked Questions.

gavel%20brown.jpgIn Orange County, Florida, a hearing was held to determine the fate of a German Shepherd breed dog who bit a 3 year old girl at a park. It was reported by the Orlando Sentinel that the dog bit 3 year old – Erica Leinhart – in the face. Following the dog bite incident, the Orange County Animal Service held a hearing to hear statements from the dog owner (Joseph Marcica) and the girls’ parents – David and Alicia Leinhart. The father stated that the injuries to his daughter’s face met the criteria as established by Florida law to meet the injury type that would justify the standard for euthansia of the dog. There were also statement presented by neighbors of the dog owner as to the prior acts of the dog. The dog owner countered with statements that the dog was not dangerous.

See Orange County Dog Bite Attack Animal Services Hearing.

With respect to the animal service hearing, a decision will be made as to the fate of the dog. Whatever decision is made, the fact remains that a child suffered a serious personal injury as a result of a dog attack in Florida. Far too often, children are the unfortunate victims of dog bite attacks. Many of these dog bite incidents are preventable.

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With over 800,000 children under the age of six in the State of Florida needing child care, it is important that Florida’s Day Care Centers abide by the Florida Statutes 402.305. One area of this statute that is of particular concern in provision dealing with child discipline.

Section 12 provides that age will play a part in determining what course of action is necessary when disciplining a child. Next, the statute lays out the minimum requirements that each Florida Day Care Center must abide by. First, Florida Day Care Centers are not allowed to discipline in any way that is humiliating or frightening. Second, the discipline cannot be associated with food, rest, or toileting. Finally, Florida Day Care Centers and its staff are prohibited from spanking or physically punishing children in any form. The statute also requires Florida Day Care Centers to inform the parents of the child of the daycare’s disciplinary practices prior to the child’s admission.

day%20cares%2C%20building%20blocks%20.jpgPursuant to Chapter 65, Rule 65C-22.004 Health Related Requirements, Florida Day Care Centers are required to keep certain information on site, visible and easily accessible. Florida Day Care Centers are required to post emergency telephone numbers (including ambulance, fire, police, poison control center, Florida Abuse Hotline) and the address of and directions to the center facility on or near all telephones at the facility. This information should be as necessary to provide quality care and protect the children at the center. Florida Day Care Centers are also required to contact the parents or legal guardians of a child under the center’s care in the event of any serious illness, accident, injury or emergency to their child. Parents or legal guardians shall also be informed of the center’s specific instructions regarding the action to be taken under these circumstances, these instructions shall be followed. In case the custodial parent or legal guardian of the child cannot be contacted, the owner of the facility shall contact those persons designated by the parent or guardian to be contact under these circumstances. These designated persons shall also follow any written instructions given to them by the custodial parent or legal guardian of the child.

Also, ALL accidents and incidents that occur at a Florida Child Care Facility must be documented and shared with the custodial parent or legal guardian on the child on the day the accident and/or incident occurred.

Compliance with Florida laws and regulations concerning Florida Child Care Centers and the care provided to children is critical to the safety and well-being of each child in a Florida day care center. Having emergency contact numbers and designated emergency contacts will ensure that parent’s or legal guardians of children will be notified and well informed of their child’s safety and health while attending a Florida day care. Also, easily and accessible emergency contact numbers can prevent childhood personal injuries and/or reduce the severity of an injury sustained by a child.