Articles Tagged with wrongful death

Red Light Automobile Accident.001In Jacksonville, Florida and other cities, traffic signals serve an important purpose.  When drivers ignore traffic signals, serious automobile accidents can take place that cause horrific personal injuries and even the wrongful death of innocent drivers and passengers.  Section 316.075 (1) (c), Florida Statutes mandates that a driver facing a steady red signal (red traffic light) shall stop and remain stopped until a green light or green arrow is shown.  While this a fairly simple statute and rule of the road, it is quite amazing and disturbing how often this statute is violation.  This, in turn, can disrupt and even end the lives of others who are following the rules of the road and otherwise operating their motor vehicles in a safe and prudent manner.
It was recently reported that there was an automobile accident at the intersection of St. Johns Bluff and Beach Boulevard in Jacksonville, Florida.  It was reported by local media outlets and the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office that a woman driving a Nissan SUV ignored a red light and proceeded at a high rate of speed.  Thereafter the vehicle crossed over a median and crashed into a Honda vehicle and a commercial vehicle and another passenger vehicle. Tragically, a young man (Denny Grahovic), who was only 18 years old at the time of the crash, died as a result of the accident related personal injuries.  Two other Honda passengers, who were also teenagers, were transported to a local hospital with significant injuries.   See Crash Ends Life of One Teenager and Results in Serious Personal Injuries to Others in Jacksonville, Florida. 
Based on the facts reported, it does not appear that Denny Grahovic was negligent in any manner.  Since there was a death that resulted from this crash, JSO and possibly the Florida Highway Patrol will conduct a detailed traffic homicide investigation to determine the cause and preventability of the crash.

Car Crash and Florida Wrongful Death.001In Florida and other states, headlines are made when there is an automobile accident involving serious personal injuries or the death of a driver or passenger.  This is especially true when children and reengages are the unfortunate victims in a Florida Automobile Accident Crash.   The death of a teenager can have a ripple effect throughout the community.  In many instances, a school crisis team is put in place to provide some guidance and counseling to the other students at the school where the victim attended.  Certainly, the biggest loss is upon the parents.  It is unnatural in the scheme of things for a parent to suffer the loss of a child especially after putting in some many years of work and love to raise the child from an infant to a young adult.  When a teenager dies, so much of the promise that was there just disappears in a moment of time.  It is the moment of time in which another driver was speeding or otherwise not paying attention.  This momentarily lapse in good judgment and safe driving can and does often lead to serious personal injuries and the deaths of innocent drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and bicyclists.

Just recently, an 18 year old died in an automobile accident which took place in St. Johns County – St. Augustine, Florida near the World Golf Village area.  It was reported by a number of media outlets that Griffin Moody, who had just graduated from Allen D. Nease High School in June 2016 died as a result of this 2 vehicle crash.  The crash occurred on Murabella Parkway according to the Florida Highway Patrol.  Griffin Moody was a passenger in a 2005 Ford Focus that was being driven by another teenager.  It was also reported that five other people suffered personal injuries in this crash.

Florida has statutes in place that set forth the rules of the road.  Generally, drivers should obey the posted speed limits and yield the right of way to drivers on the roadway.  A left hand turning vehicle should yield the right of way to oncoming traffic.   All drivers should maintain control of the respective vehicles and otherwise remain attentive to traffic conditions, road conditions, and weather conditions.  Each driver has a duty to avoid a crash when he or she has the ability to do so.   It should be noted that each Florida Automobile Accident should be evaluated based on its own facts and merits. When a persona dies as result of a Florida traffic crash, the local law enforcement department and / or Florida Highway Patrol will investigate and issue a Florida Homicide Traffic Report upon completion of the investigation.  It should noted that the results or conclusions of such a report are not binding per se on insurance companies or any further potential civil cases.

Florida Bicycle Accident Injuries.001Florida is a state that is filled year round with bicycle rides and cyclists of all ages and skill levels.  During any given trip by a driver of a motor vehicle – long or short, there is a high probability that you will pass or see a bicyclist on or near the roadway. It is vital that all drivers slow down near bicyclists and treat each bicyclist with due respect.  Let’s face it – a bicyclist / bicycle is no match (weight, force, and speed) for any motor vehicle out on the roads.   Distracted driving is an ongoing problem in the State of Florida.  Drivers are unfortunately and tragically paying more attention to their phone, text messages, and e-mails than other drivers, pedestrians, and, yes, bicyclist on or near the roads, highways, and streets.
Florida has adopted a comparative fault set of laws applicable to automobile accidents, trucking accidents, bicycle accidents, and pedestrian accidents.  In other words, in order to pursue a case for compensation for personal injuries, the injured bicyclist can be partially at fault for the accident or incident.  In representing an injured bicyclist, it is preferable if the driver is 100 % at fault; however, there may be circumstances where the bicyclist is partially at fault. There also can be situations in which two or more drivers may be at fault for a bicycle accident leading to personal injuries.
It should be noted that under Florida Statutes a bicyclist is given the same rights as a pedestrian under many situations.  As such, drivers should keep the law in mind as well the safety of all bicyclists and pedestrians in mind when operating a motor vehicle in the State of Florida.  It should also be noted that Florida has adopted a Dangerous Instrumentality Law as it applies to automobile accidents and bicycle accidents.  As such, the registered owner of a motor vehicle is liable for the negligence of a permissive driver even if the owner did nothing wrong OR was not even present at the time of the incident or crash leading to the personal injuries of the bicyclist.

blue and vibrant swimming poolside

In the State of Florida and across the nation, one of the leading causes of death for small children, and especially toddlers, is drowning. In Florida, there are private residential swimming pools, public swimming pools, and hotel/motel/resort swimming pools in just about every community. It is important for property owners, business owners, home owners, and government entity to properly safeguard the swimming pool and aquatic area for the protection of children. It is well known and expected that a child, especially one of tender years, under the age of 5 years old, to be curious and inquisitive about interesting areas and what is deemed under Florida Law to be an “attractive nuisance.”

Unfortunately and tragically, there are reports of drowning incidents every summer, spring and the rest of the year in Florida. Many such incidents are preventable with the proper implementation and maintenance of swimming pool fences and barriers, swimming pool alarms, proper adult supervision, proper lifesaving equipment, and the posting of trained and attentive life guards when appropriate. When a child suffers personal injury or dies as a result of a drowning incident there may be a case or claim to pursue on behalf of the child and the family. To establish a legal claim r case, there must be proof and evidence of the following four elements:

1. Duty;

 No Swimming.001During the past week, I have lectured and written on the issue of negligence, child injuries, and the unfortunate and tragic incident that took place at the Walt Disney World Resort – Orlando where a 2 year old child was attacked and ultimately drowned by an alligator.  It has been reported that there were “No Swimming” signs posted in or near the area.  Some people, who I have spoken to, believe that this fact should then be a bar to recovery if there is a claim or case pursued by the parents of the child who died.  Florida is a state that has adopted a Comparative Fault system for the pursuit and trial of personal injury cases.  In other words, even if an injury victim is comparatively or partially at fault, there can still be a case pursued on behalf of the injury victim and / or the injury victim’s family.   It should also be noted that there are some special laws in place in Florida when a child is injured.  For instance, in the State of Florida, a child under the age of 6 years old cannot be held liable, responsible, or partially at fault as a matter of law.  As such, a 2 year old cannot be comparatively at fault as a matter of law even though there were “No Swimming” signs that were posted.  However, a parent, as a third party of sorts, can be held liable, responsible, or partially at fault if the parent’s actions or inactions contributed in whole or part to the situation or incident taking place.
As for the Disney alligator attack, it has been reported that there were “No Swimming” signs posted.  The family of the 2 year old were from Nebraska and may not have been aware of the presence of alligators throughout the State of Florida in its rivers, lakes, canals, ponds, and lagoons.  Furthermore, the sign read “No Swimming”.   The reason for the posting of the sign could have included any of the following:
*There was no regular lifeguard in the area.

orlando-vector-doodle_GJ7pbFLO_LWalt Disney World Orlando advertises itself as one of the “Happiest Places on Earth”.  For millions of visitors every year, it is quite a happy and joyful place filled with rides, cartoon characters, and adventures; however, for many children and their families, Walt Disney World Orlando happens to be a placed filled with horrific memories, significant personal injuries, tragedy, and even the untimely and wrongful death of a visitor from children to teens to adults. Certainly, Walt Disney World Orlando welcomes children and families to its many theme parks, attractions, resorts, and hotels.  As such, it is important that Walt Disney World Orlando provide a safe and well maintained environment with the full knowledge that every day families and young children will be on the premises.   This duty extends to all areas of the park and resorts including but not limited to the attractions, rides, restaurants, hotels, lobby areas, swimming pool areas, recreation areas, and yes, the other aquatic areas whether man-made or natural in the form of lakes, ponds, canals, lagoons, and other areas.   It is incumbent upon Walt Disney World Orlando to patrol the areas, maintain the areas, clean up the areas, and post prominent signage about potential dangers that may include those related to electrical and wildlife.  If an area has the potential for significant injury or death, this particular area should either be closed off, modified, and / or posted with prominent signage.

A recent incident at Walt Disney World Orlando left a family and community in shock when an alligator from the Seven Seas Lagoon lunged out of the water and grabbed a 2 year old who was standing in or near the water with his father.  The boy, who was vacationing with his family from Nebraska, was attacked by the alligator.  While the father tried to do his best to stop the attack and save his son, he was unable to do so.  It was reported that there were signs in the area that advised visitors about the designation of a “No Swimming” area.  There may not have been any warnings or signage about the presence of dangerous wildlife including but not limited to alligators.  Certainly, this incident was and is a complete and utter nightmare for the family visiting the “Magic Kingdom” from Nebraska.  The incident was immediately reported to Walt Disney World Orlando officials, resort staff and management, local law enforcement, and Florida Wildlife Law Enforcement officers.  You can read more about this tragedy at KETV Omaha, Nebraska – Alligator Attacks and Drags 2 Year Old Nebraska Boy at Walt Disney World Orland Resort – Seven Seas Lagoon. 

The injury and / or wrongful of a child is a harrowing experience.  Certainly, as parents, we work day and night to provide for our children’s safety, health, and welfare.  When a child is injured or when a child dies as a result of the negligence of another person, business entity, or government entity, a parent is faced with a number of life, medical, and legal challenges. Certainly, it is important that these trying times to be supported by family members, friends, community, medical professionals, clergy, community, and, yes, when necessary an experienced and caring Florida Child Injury Lawyer.  Big businesses are supported day / night by in-house and retained legal counsel essentially on a 24 / 7 basis. There are risk management and insurance risk management adjuster in place to advise and protect the companies.  As such, injury victims and their families also deserve legal representation to make that legal rights are protected, enforced, and preserved as needed especially in the aftermath of significant personal injuries and /or wrongful death.

Bicycle Injury Rider.001In the State of Florida and other states, bicyclists are put at risk for personal injuries.  From the simple bicycle ride of a child to a more rigorous bicycle ride by an experienced cyclist, an injury, accident, or crash could take place at any place and time.  Some bicycle injuries are quite minor in the form of a scared knee or elbow that heal quickly; however, other bicycle accident related injuries can be quite significant and change the life of the injured cyclist.  Tragically, far too many cyclists from toddlers to elementary school age children to teens to adults to seniors die every year due to the negligent driving of an operator of passenger vehicle or commercial vehicle.  Any time that a driver gets behind the wheel of a vehicle, the driver should keep in mind that on any given trip there will be pedestrians, cyclists (bicycles), and bikers (motorcycles) on the roadway.  There is a common expression or theme out there – Look Twice for Motorcycles.  This simple but powerful advice applies the same and even more to pedestrians and cyclists especially those who are children.
When a cyclist is injured or a cyclist dies as a result of the fault of a driver, the cyclist and the family of the cyclist can seek compensation for the damages (personal and property) caused by the bicycle accident  Most states have adopted a comparative fault form of liability for bicycle accidents.  In other words, even if the cyclist was partially at fault, an injury claim or case can still be pursued on behalf of the injured cyclist and / or the family of the injured cyclist.  It should be pointed out that each claim or case involving a bicycle accident or injury should be evaluated on its own merits, facts, and circumstances. It is important that the injured cyclist and family retain the services of an experienced Personal Injury Attorney to review the facts, circumstances, insurance coverages, medical bills, and medical records to determine the recommended practical and legal courses of action.
A police report detailing the details of the bicycle accident can be helpful as part of the investigation; however, it should be noted that a case or claim can be pursued on behalf of an injured bicyclist even without a bicycle accident report and even without a favorable bicycle accident report. In other words, if the police officer places some or all of the fault for a bicycle accident on the injured cyclist, a civil claim or case can still be pursued on behalf of the injured cyclist. In most instances, the police officer, deputy sheriff, and / or highway patrol trooper arrive on the scene after the bicycle accident has already taken place.  As such, the police officer is merely assessing the information as he or she processed it at the time of the crash.  In most jurisdiction, for purposes of a bicycle accident, the police officer is not given the role of insurance adjuster, judge, or jury.  In other words, the conclusions and evaluations of the police officer are not completely dispositive of a claim or case on behalf of an injured cyclist.

Interstate 95In the State of Florida, just one crash can change the lives of many people and families.  This is especially true when there are multiple deaths or multiple claimants involved with a traffic crash. There are many issues and challenges to a case involving one injured person or party.  The issues are compounded when there are multiple victims, injuries, and claims.
For most personal injury claims or cases, the amount and type of automobile insurance often come into play and require a close evaluation and study.   It is important for a personal injury victim and / or the family of the personal injury victim to retain the services of an experienced Florida Personal Injury Attorney to determine the rights of the victim, the rights of the family, and the recommended courses of action.  It should be noted that there is a big difference between the legal rights of the victim and the practical options or practical resolution of a case.  For instance, let’s assume that a person suffers a fractured leg requiring surgery and an extended hospitalization.  Let’s further assume that the reasonable value for such a case is $450,000.  The at-fault driver had an automobile insurance policy with a bodily injury policy limit of $50,000.  As such, the total amount of liability insurance in place for this particular claim was $50,000.  Under these facts and circumstances, the fair value of the case is $450,000; however the practical resolution of the case may end up being the $50,000 policy limits.  Again, there is a difference between the legal rights of the personal injury victim and the practical resolution of the case.
On Interstate 95 near Titusville, Florida, there was a recent fatal crash that was reported by news and media outlets.  The crash ended the lives of three young girls who were ejected from the vehicle.  It was reported that there were 11 people occupying the vehicle that was manufactured with a maximum capacity of 8 passengers / occupants.  A tire problem caused the Dodge Durrango SUV to go off off the road and then the SUV flipped several times.  Certainly, this tragic crash will have a ripple effect through the family, neighborhood, and community.   

Swimming Pool - Drowning and Personal Injuries
In Florida, swimming, boating, and aquatic activities are essentially year round activities.  This is especially true during the spring and summer seasons.   According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 10 people die every day from drowning related incidents. Children under the age of 14 account for 2 out of the 10 deaths.  It is reported that drowning is the 5th leading cause of unintentional deaths in the United States.

Despite these risks and disturbing statistics, drowning incidents continue and unfortunately will continue through the rest of the 2016 year including the summer season.  Can a case or claim be pursued on behalf of an injured child OR on behalf of the parents of a child who dies as a result of a drowning incident?  Like many legal questions, it depends on the facts and circumstances.  It also depends on the practicalities associated with liability insurance coverage and other matters.
Like other personal injury cases in the State of Florida, there are four essential elements associated with a drowning case:

Pedestrian Crossing Sign - Child InjuryIn the State of Florida, the law classifies a motor vehicle as a dangerous instrumentality.  As such, the owner of a vehicle is liable for the negligent driving of the driver under the Dangerous Instrumentality Doctrine.  This same set of laws makes a company liable for the driving of an employee given permission to drive a company vehicle.  In the State of Florida and other States, there is a danger that exists in every community.  Negligent driving in the form of distracted driving leads to far too many crashes and accidents which cause injuries to children and even the wrongful death of children.  Distracted driving presents itself in different forms forms including but not limited to mobile phone use, texting, e-mailing, reading e-mails or texts, eating, drinking, smoking, dropping items, picking up items, etc. . . . Any action that takes away from the job at hand – driving the motor vehicle – can be classified as distracted driving.

In Hernando County, Florida, it was recently reported that a child pedestrian died when the child was struck by a motor vehicle.  It was reported that the driver of a Jaguar got distracted after dropping a cigarette while operating the motor vehicle.  Since a death resulted form a motor vehicle type of accident, the Florida Highway Patrol will complete a full investigation and later release a report as to its findings including the estimated speed of the vehicle, distance measurements, fault, and preventability of the incident.

The death of a child due to the negligence of others is a tragedy.  A young life ended way too early from an event or incident that was preventable.  Certainly, accidents happen.  However, it is truly a shame when a child dies from an automobile, bicycle, or pedestrian accident through no fault of the child or her parents.  As parents, we work tirelessly through each day with the goals of providing for our children, of protecting for our children, and, yes, of keeping our children safe.