In the State of Florida, it is a crime for a person to haze another person. It is not a defense to the action if the hazing, abuse, or pressure is connected to admission, entry, or membership into an organization, club, fraternity, or sorority. It should be noted that the crime of hazing is different from a prior and element standpoint than a civil case on behalf of a victim subjected to hazing acts like physical abuse or drinking games that lead to serious injury or even death of the victim, pledge, or applicant. With respect to a civi case involving negligence or abusive conduct, there are four elements to establish:
Breach of Duty;
Halloween is a holiday mostly celebrated by children and for children. There are also adult parties and adult participation; however, the core part of Halloween is the journey through the neighborhood engaged in the tradition of visiting houses and collecting candy just by virtue of the statement “Trick or Treat”. Let’s face it, there is a certain paradise for children on Halloween which is in the form of “Free Candy”. Dressing home and pretending to be a favorite Disney character or super hero is pretty cool as well. For most children, Halloween evening / night is just about the best night of the year. For others unfortunately, Halloween night can be the time in which a child suffers a serious personal injury or even dies due to the negligence of others.
Some tragic events that take place during Halloween can be avoided. Here are some safety tips to keep in mind. Some are fairly basic and well know. Nevertheless, it is important to keep these tips in mind and actually follow them to make Halloween night as safe as possible:
Don’t Trick or Treat at All. Find alternatives to the door-to-door trick or treat journey. Have a party. Have the neighbors gather together in one place for a candy distribution. While it does seem counter intuitive to discourage traditional trick or treat activities, having children remain in one general area or home can avoid many accidents or incidents from taking place.
Cruise ship companies like Carnival Cruise Lines, Norwegian Cruise Lines, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, and other carriers market to and welcome children as guests on the ship for both short and long term trips. As such, cruise ships should be constructed and maintained in a reasonable manner that under maritime law. The cruise ship operator had a duty to remove or limit hazards and to put reasonable necessary safety measures for both children and adults. All interior and exterior passageways should be constructed and maintained according to applicable ship, building, and safety codes. When an adult or child is injured as a passenger on a cruise ship, the cruise ship line, company, or operator is not automatically or strictly liability. There must be a showing of fault or liability for the incident at issue. This is commonly referred to as negligence which requires the proof or showing of four elements to establish a legal case or claim: Duty, Breach of Duty, Causation, and Damages.
It was recently reported by a number of media outlets that an eight year old girl who was a passenger on the ship – Glory – operated by Carnival Cruise Lines fell approximately 20 feet while inside the atrium area of the boat. It was reported that the medical team for the ship was soon thereafter on the scene to attend to the child. The incident took place while the ship was docked at the Port of Miami. Since a serious injury occurred in the form of a death, there will be a full investigation by government authorities as well as an autopsy. Concurrent or subsequent to the criminal investigation, there can also be an investigation by the family, private investigators, engineers, and, yes, a legal team hired by the family of the child. Again, it should be noted that a cruise ship is not automatically liable for every single injury or death that occurs on a boat. Negligence or fault must be established to support a civil case or claim if one is pursued by the family of the child. You can read more about the Carnival Cruise Lines incident involving the 8 year old girl who fell at Girl as a Result of Fall at Port of Miami – Carnival Cruise Lines.
It should be noted that cruise ship legal cases are much different than other types of injury cases like ones involving an automobile accident or a slip and fall while at a store or shopping center while on land. The cruise line ticket can define and control time limits and court or forum choices for a legal case. In addition, there are strict time limits by law for cruise ship / maritine cases.
In Florida, a child should be able to ride a bike, spend time with friends, and play sports / games in a safe and nurturing environment. Most neighborhoods in Florida are safe and filled with neighbors who are friendly, conscientious, and mindful of children in the area. Unfortunately, at times, a child is injured in the very neighborhood in which the child resides or visits. For some reason, some dogs have a sense of aggression or fear for children. This could happen for a variety of reasons or no reason at all. Because of the unpredictability of dogs and the risks to children, dog owners should use best efforts to keep a dog on a leash or otherwise confined. When a dog is loose, there is a risk of attack to one or more children in the neighborhood. In most of Florida’s 67 counties, there is a dog leash law that is referred in the local ordinance of many counties as “at-large dogs”. It is important to keep a dog under control at all times.
In the State of Florida, it is a crime to leave a child unattended in a vehicle that is turned off. Pursuant to Section 316.6135, Florida Statutes, it is a misdemeanor to leave a child unattended in a vehicle for more than 15 minutes. It is a felony if the child suffers significant bodily harm, permanent injury, or disfigurement as a result of being left unattended in the vehicle. It is also a misdemeanor leaving a child unattended in a vehicle that is still running if the health of the child is put at risk OR the child appears to be in distress.
The statute as it currently reads is a bit troublesome in that a child can suffer serious personal injuries or even death by being left in a hot car or day care center van in less than 15 minutes. Some lawmakers in the State of Florida are pushing for changes to this legislation / Florida law to better protect children and to serve as a reminder to parents, guardians, caregivers, and day care centers to stop putting children at risk by leaving children in a vehicle.
David Wolf – Personal Injury Attorney – is based in Jacksonville, Florida and handles child injury, automobile accident, day care center, and related cases throughout the State of Florida. He is the author of 11 books including the book titled The ABCs of Child Injury – Legal Rights of the Injured Child – What Every Parent Should Know and the book titled Florida Day Care Center Injuries – Legal Rights of the Injured Child – Building Blocks of Knowledge for Parents. You can get these books for free by visiting the Personal Injury Book Section of the Wood, Atter & Wolf, P.A. Law Firm Website.