Articles Posted in Wrongful Death

Sometimes when folks read that the statute of limitations on Florida personal injury and wrongful death claims is two and four years respectively, they figure they’ve got some time before they need to bother reaching out to a South Florida injury attorney. And while it is true that you technically have that time span in which to file a claim, our Naples injury lawyers know what that timeline fails to take into account is:

  • The faster you act, the more likely your attorney can gather important evidence, talk to key witnesses and best preserve your case.
  • In most all cases,  you won’t be able to file a claim at all unless you have properly provided notice to defendants in accordance with Florida law. The timeline for notice is shorter than the statute of limitations period, and the requirements can vary depending on a host of factors.injury attorney Naples Continue reading

A fatal automobile crash spurred a federal wrongful death lawsuit against a tire manufacturer that recently got snagged on the issue of trade secrets. The case illustrates why it’s imperative that those who have suffered a serious injury or death of a loved one due to a car accident seek legal advice from a law firm with extensive experience in handling complex litigation. This is particularly true when we’re going after the manufacturer of a defective vehicle or faulty vehicle part. Product liability laws make these cases far more complex than your typical crash-related injury claim. vehicle defect

Here, in these defective vehicle tire liability case, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit certified a question to the South Carolina Supreme Court, asking if the state high court recognized evidentiary privilege for trade secrets (and thus whether the federal trial court erred in applying federal discovery standards). The state court responded yes, it did recognize privilege for trade secrets, but that it was a qualified privilege.

According to court records in the wrongful death case, this all started with the 2010 automobile crash death of a woman in Calhoun County, S.C. The personal representative of her estate filed a survival and wrongful death lawsuit against the manufacturer of an allegedly defective tire, asserting claims under state law for negligence, strict liability and breach of warranty.  He alleged the vehicle in which decedent was riding was struck head-on by another car that had crossed the median after suffering a tire blowout caused by a defect in the tire itself, which was designed, manufactured and marketed by defendant.  Continue reading

Drunk driving is a major threat to Florida motorists, with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention reporting nearly 8,500 people were killed in Florida drunk driving accidents between 2003 and 2012. The rate of people who self-report driving after having too much to drink in Florida is 2.1 percent, compared to the national average of 1.9 percent. Florida allows sobriety checkpoints and ignition interlock devices for repeat offenders, but there may be another way to combat the problem. It starts with targeting those repeat offenders.DUI injury lawyer

A 2010 study published in the American Journal of Public Health revealed that a person arrested for DUI once was 615 times more likely to be arrested again for the same offense compared to someone who was never arrested for impaired driving. Given that risk, authorities in Colorado (where 40 percent of DUI arrests involve repeat offenders) the state is trying something new.

The Miami Herald reports the state’s department of transportation distributed 475 personal breathalyzers to residents of the state who had previously been convicted of a drunk driving offense. These devices allow individuals to test themselves to determine whether they had surpassed the legal alcohol limit, indicating they were not safe to drive. That was over the summer. Continue reading

A chain reaction tractor-trailer crash in West Palm Beach that injured one and killed two – including a 29-year-old medical student – recently resulted in a $45 million verdict in favor of the med student’s parents.truck accident lawyer

As our West Palm Beach truck accident attorneys can explain, these kinds of cases tend to result in higher verdicts and settlements than your typical car accident lawsuit for several reasons, including:

  • Because of the size disparity between large trucks and passenger cars, any collisions between the two are likely to result in severe injuries to occupants of the smaller vehicle. More severe injuries and deaths are a greater loss to the victim and loved ones.
  • Anytime a trucking company or construction firm is involved in a personal injury or wrongful death, there are usually numerous defendants, many with varying degrees of liability.
  • Trucking companies and construction firms – particularly construction companies that work roadside – carry high liability insurance policies. Although insurance coverage does not determine the amount of damages (courts are often careful to make sure jurors aren’t informed of the existence or amount of this coverage, as it’s considered prejudicial), the fact that it’s there improves the chances that if high damages are awarded, they will actually be paid. Florida requires passenger vehicle motorists to be financially responsible for a minimum of $20,000 in bodily injury (which is paid in addition to personal injury protection – PIP – benefits of up to $10,000). Meanwhile, federal law requires all truckers to carry at least $750,000 in liability coverage. Those that haul hazmat materials have to carry at least $5 million.

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A federal judge has ordered the US government to pay the family of Michael Zinn $4.4M for his Port St. Lucie wrongful death from a Florida aviation accident that was partially caused by air traffic controller negligence. ZInn, 52, was from Boca Raton. He died in 2005 when he crashed his private plane into a house in Port St. Lucie.

In 2007, the National Transportation Safety Board determined that Zinn lost control of his Cessna P337H when he flew through, instead of around, stormy weather. The NTSB also found that the controller did not help Zinn with navigating the plane and failed to tell him about the weather conditions.

Although Miami U.S. Magistrate Judge Edwin G. Torres found Zinn to be 60% liable for the Florida plane crash death, he also said that Miami’s Air Route Traffic Control Center committed failures that played a key role n the tragic accident. He said that the controller breached his duty of care to Zinn and should have given him the information he needed to “make informed decisions.”

The Florida Department of Juvenile Justice announced today that it is firing six people who work at the Palm Beach Regional Juvenile Center in West Palm Beach in the wake of Eric Perez’s death. The 18-year-old died last July while in custody there. The department says it is no longer able to wait until Palm Beach County State Attorney Michael McAuliffe concludes his probe into what happened on July 10. The media have not reported at this time whether or not Perez’s family plans to file a Florida wrongful death claim.

Perez was in lockup on a marijuana possession charge. According to the Miami Herald, a detention center healthcare log indicated that even though the teenager threw up and screamed all night, a nurse did not examine him until 7:51 am in the morning (Perez also reportedly began hallucinating that an imaginary person was on top of him. Also, during the course of the night, guards tried to ask another nurse for “guidance” but she didn’t answer the phone). Perez was pronounced dead by paramedics at approximately 8:10am.

DJJ Secretary Wansley Walters reports that not all of the six who are being fired have been directly linked to Perez’s death. Some terminations are in the wake of the examination into detention center operations.

Three people who were fired, Albert Rios, Christian Lewis, and Darrell Smith, are accused of procedural violations on the night that Perez died. According to Rios, the guards “engaged in unauthorized physical contact or horseplay” with Perez because it was his 18th birthday.

If you or someone you love sustained serious injury or became sick while in police custody and law enforcement officers did not do enough to prevent the injury or provide the necessary medical care, you may have grounds for a West Palm Beach personal injury case. It doesn’t matter whether or not a crime was committed. You still have certain rights and protections whether or not you are behind bars and charged with/convicted of wrongdoing.

State officials fire 6 West Palm juvenile detention workers in connection with teen’s July death, Palm Beach Post, December 28, 2011
Lockup’s medical log details teen’s death spiral, Miami Herald, July 20, 2011

More Blog Posts:
Mother Files Coral Springs Injuries to Minor Lawsuit Against Broward County School District Alleging that Bullying Caused Her Daughter’s Attempted Suicide, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, November 22, 2011
A Case of Miami Gardens Personal Injury?: “Doctor” Injects Woman’s Butt with “Fix-a-Flat”, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, November 19, 2011
Miami Injury Lawsuit Sues Social Networking Site Over Porn Film Rape, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, October 28, 2011 Continue reading

The parents of Paul Merhige have filed a countersuit blaming the people that are suing them for Jupiter, Florida wrongful death damages. Merhige is the man who fatally shot family members at a gathering on Thanksgiving Day 2009.

While the hosts of the event, Muriel and Jim Sitton and Antoine Joseph, believe Carole and Michael Merhige should be held accountable for allowing Paul, who they knew was troubled, owned a gun, and wasn’t taking his medications, to attend the festivities, the Merhiges are blaming the Sittons and Muriel’s dad Dr. Antoine Joseph for letting Paul into the house.

Killed in the deadly rampage were the Sittons’ daughter Makayla, 6, Joseph’s wife and Muriel’s mom Raymonde, 76, and the Merhige’s twin daughters and Paul’s sisters, 33. Also suing the Merhiges for Palm Beach County wrongful death is Patrick Night, who was married to Lisa, one of Paul’s sisters that died. She happened to be pregnant at the time. Night was also seriously injured in the shooting.

The family of Robert Champion is getting ready to file a Florida wrongful death lawsuit against Florida A & M University. The 26-year-old student and marching band member died earlier this month from what is believed to be a hazing incident.

Following Champion’s death, the marching band director, Julian White, was fired. No arrests have been made over the incident so far-hazing is a third-degree felony in Florida-but four students have since been expelled.

Champion was unresponsive when he was found on a bus that was parked outside a hotel. Someone called 911 to report that Champion had finished throwing up and was not breathing.

The family of Othon Cortes has filed a Miami wrongful death lawsuit against American Airlines. They believe that the 73-year-old died last May because he ate contaminated chicken while on a flight going from Barcelona, Spain to New York.

Cortes’ daughter Sandra and widow Rachel say that the food contained Clostridium perfingens, which is a deadly bacteria. After they arrived in the US, Cortes reportedly began exhibiting signs of serious illness, including severe thirst and stomach cramps. His symptoms reportedly grew worse after they boarded their next flight to Miami. While the plane was in the air Cortes reportedly had a “cardiac event.” The plane made an emergency landing and he was then pronounced dead.

Also named as a defendant is Sky Chefs. However, the catering company said it played no part in preparing the meals on this particular flight. It is trying to get the case against it dismissed.

The family of Juan Carlos Rivera has settled their Coral Gables wrongful death lawsuit with the Miami-Dade School Board. A fellow student fatally stabbed Rivera in 2009.

Rivera and another student, Andy Rodriguez, reportedly bumped elbows and that was when the two Coral Gables Senior High students got into a fistfight. Rodriguez then stabbed Rivera numerous times, including one jab to the heart. According to prosecutors, the brawl was over a girl.

Rivera’s family had accused the high school of negligence, including poor supervision, inadequate security, and failing to properly determine which students were troubled. Meantime, Rodriguez has been found guilty of second-degree murder with a weapon. He will be sentenced later this month.