Articles Posted in Wrongful Death

Published on:

Our Miami personal injury attorneys often review court decisions that illustrate important legal issues or new developments in the law that have a potential impact on our clients.  However, sometimes we call attention to court decisions because of the disturbing nature of the outcome.  This blog post serves as a cautionary tale regarding the importance of having exemplary legal representation because the analysis of a judge or court can be unanticipated, so you need a knowledgeable and experienced lawyer.

A recent decision by a Florida appellate court denied a widow loss of consortium damages despite a forty year marriage after her husband allegedly died from exposure to asbestos.  John Kelley was exposed to asbestos from 1973 to 1974, which preceded his marriage to his wife Janis Kelly by two years.  Mr. Kelly was subsequently diagnosed with mesothelioma, which is caused by asbestos exposure.  The couple filed a product liability lawsuit against several asbestos manufacturers based on strict liability. Continue reading →

Published on:

With summer on the horizon, Miami families will flock to swimming pools for recreation, exercise, and leisure activity.  Although swimming pools are popular amenities in many apartment complexes, condominiums, and homeowners’ communities, residents and their guests are sometimes endangered by negligence.  The forms of unreasonably careless behavior that can lead to drowning deaths, or near drowning incidents that cause permanent brain damage, take many forms, such as inadequate security, unmaintained lifesaving equipment, missing drain covers, unsecured gates, or missing fencing.  In this blog post, our Miami drowning death attorneys review a decision from Florida’s 5th District Court of Appeals which demonstrates the challenges drowning victims frequently face when pursuing compensation for wrongful death.

In Southern Owners Insurance Company v. Cooperativa v. De Seguros Multiples, etc., the parents of a seven-year-old boy brought a wrongful death lawsuit following the drowning of their child left in the care of a homeowner within a private gated condominium community.  The boy was swimming in a pool shared by members of the association at the time of his drowning.  The mother of the boy sued the condominium association alleging theories of negligence and negligent supervision.  The trial judge granted summary judgment in favor of the plaintiff based on the conclusion that the association’s liability coverage extended to the owners of individual condo units.  The judge relied on a clause providing that the coverage of the association applied to individual members when liability was the product of repair, maintenance, or ownership of areas of the premises not reserved for an individual member’s exclusive use or individual unit.  Continue reading →

Published on:

In Florida, our personal injury lawyers have surprised people when we explain that law enforcement agencies could be liable for personal injuries and law enforcement agencies are not completely immune from liability. Law enforcement officers have a duty to the public generally. The duty owed to the public, however, is not actionable under Florida tort law unless the police take additional steps to place someone in harm’s way and create a special duty of care. Law enforcement officers are liable for damages when they are obligated to care for another person and fail to do so properly. Florida courts call this the “undertaker doctrine.” In short, the undertaker doctrine compels the police to perform reasonably after the begin to care for another person.  The undertaker theory of negligence avoids the sometimes harsh consequences of sovereign immunity.

As personal injury attorneys we have seen facts similar to those that gave rise to the case of Wallace v. Dean. In that case, a woman died after falling into a diabetic coma. The woman’s daughter, who lived out of state, could not reach her mother by telephone. Consequently, she called a neighbor for assistance. The neighbor went to check on the woman. The neighbor called 911 when she could not wake the woman. Two sheriff’s deputies arrived and examined the woman. They vigorously tried to wake her but could not. They determined she was still breathing and was probably just sleeping because she was snoring despite shaking her violently in an effort to wake her up. When questioned about the decision not to call an ambulance, one of the deputies responded by saying that people in a diabetic coma do not snore. The deputies left after determining that medical personnel need not be summoned. Later that morning, the woman could not be roused. An ambulance took her to a local hospital where she died a few days later after never regaining consciousness.  Continue reading →

Published on:

Our Miami personal injury lawyers express our condolences to the family of a teen who died in a fatal skateboarding accident.  The family members were denied compensation for the death of their son when the Supreme Court of California upheld summary judgment in favor of a public entity.  The boy was riding a skateboard up and down a hilly street while his parents visited a family living in a nearby condominium.  The fatality victim and his brother admitted they were skateboarding for fun to pass the time.  During one of the trips down the hill, one of the boy’s skateboard wheels got caught in a gap between the pavement and the edge of a manhole cover.  When the skateboard got caught, the boy was propelled from the skateboard and struck his head on the concrete.  He was hospitalized for several months with a severe traumatic brain injury before passing away from his injuries.

Miami Personal Injury Attorneys Note the Impact of the Assumption of the Risk Defense

The surviving family members of the boy filed a wrongful death lawsuit naming the public entity responsible for designing, constructing, and maintaining the roadway as a defendant.  The public entity filed a motion for summary judgment alleging that the claim was barred based on the assumption of the risk defense.  Because the boy was engaged in a dangerous leisure activity, the trial judge granted summary judgment and ruled the claim was barred because the boy assumed the risk of serious injury or wrongful death.  Continue reading →

Published on:

While it may seem trivial, our Miami wrongful death attorneys understand that a crucial part of any personal injury suit is ensuring that claims are filed before the applicable statute of limitations expires. Every cause of action has a statute of limitations, which is the amount of time that the law provides claimants for filing suit in court after the negligent act took place that caused injury. If a party fails to file a claim within the statute of limitations period, the result will often be the court’s dismissal of the claim outright as untimely. While there may be certain circumstances that will keep a claim alive as the case below illustrates, it is crucial that plaintiffs preserve their rights by observing the statute of limitations and pursuing claims in a timely fashion.

In Roden v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, the initial plaintiff filed suit against a group of tobacco companies alleging that she suffered injuries from smoking cigarettes and that the companies were liable because of their actions. Shortly after filing the suit, the initial plaintiff died, and her daughter filed a motion to substitute herself into the lawsuit as the estate’s personal representative. The court granted the daughter’s motion. However, the tobacco companies then filed a motion to dismiss the case two years later, arguing that the initial plaintiff’s death nullified the personal injury claim against them. The companies contended that since the initial plaintiff’s daughter failed to amend the complaint to include a wrongful death claim, the lawsuit should be dismissed. The daughter tried to file an amended complaint to include a wrongful death claim, stating that she did not add a wrongful death claim because she thought her previous attorney filed another complaint with a wrongful death claim. The trial court dismissed the complaint in agreement with the tobacco companies, and the daughter filed an appeal. Continue reading →

Published on:

Police are on the lookout for a driver who hit a man riding a scooter and carried him on the trunk before he fell to his death.  Officials report that a man was riding his scooter at about 1:50 a.m. near downtown Miami when the driver in a silver Mazda ran a red light and hit the scooter.  The victim was knocked onto the trunk of the vehicle where he remained as the car kept on driving towards Interstate 95.  He eventually fell off the truck and died as a result of his injuries.  Police immediately began a search effort for the driver and it is hoped his identity will be uncovered shortly.

Hit and Run Accident Cases are on the Rise

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, hit and run crashes in Florida have increased close to 25 percent.  Today, one in four cashes in the state is a hit and run and over 80,000 hit and run accidents occurred in 2014. About half of these accidents involve pedestrians, but accidents with bicyclists have increased significantly.  The causes of hit and run accidents in Miami are varied, but it is often alcohol use and fear of criminal charges that prevent a person from stopping at the scene of a crash. Continue reading →

Published on:

A fatal escalator accident claimed the life of a mother in China just moments after she saved her child from meeting the same fate.  On July 26, security footage from a mall in Jingzhou shows a mother riding up the escalator with her son.  It starts as a scene you would see any day in any mall across the world.  At the top of the escalator, however, something goes awry.  The metal panel where the escalator steps meet the ground collapses under the woman’s feet.  She falls into the large gap and, with just her upper body out of the escalator, she pushes her young son to safety.  A mall employee grabs the child and turns to save the mother, but at that moment she disappears into the gigantic hole in the escalator.

Employees and rescue crews attempted to save the woman trapped in the escalator shaft for about four hours, eventually cutting the escalator open.  Unfortunately, the woman was not found alive.  Officials in Jingzhou have stated that the escalator accident is to be blamed on human error.  Security footage shows mall employees uncovering the loose panel five minutes before the accident.  The panel wobbles as employees step on it, so they alert maintenance.  The escalator, however, was not shut down, nor was anything placed over the paneling or around the escalator warning people not to step there.  Had these actions been taken, the mother would likely have survived.

This is the most recent in a series of serious escalator accidents to occur across the world in recent years.  In another escalator accident in China, a toddler’s hand and arm were trapped within the gap of the escalator after he tripped and fell.  In Beijing, a boy’s foot was trapped in the same dangerous gap area of the escalator. One toddler died several months ago after becoming caught on the escalator railing and plunging several floors to the ground.  Continue reading →

Published on:

A seven year old boy was hospitalized after nearly drowning at Jungle Island in Miami.  The popular local and tourist destination became the scene of a near death when the boy, who was on a field trip with his summer camp, took off his life jacket and attempted to swim to one of the inflatable floats.  Supervisors noticed the boy struggling to stay above water and signaled to lifeguards.  One of the lifeguards pulled the boy out and performed CPR until paramedics arrived. A spokeswoman for Jungle Island said the accident occurred near Parrot Cove and paramedics arrived within minutes.  The boy was crying by the time help arrived and was in stable condition when transported to the hospital.  Jungle Island is cooperating with officials in the investigation into the matter.

Drowning accidents in Miami are a major concern for many parents because children are around water all the time.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that nearly 4,000 people die from drowning every year. Fortunately, camp supervisors were able to recognize that this young child was in distress before it was too late.  Drowning, however, can be difficult to spot.  The following is a primer on what drowning looks like.  By recognizing a drowning child or adult, you could save their life. Continue reading →

Published on:

Each year, about 32,000 individuals are killed in car accidents across the nation.  Florida is home to over 2,000 deaths a year, making it one of the most dangerous states for drivers.  Fatal car accidents often involve the use of excessive speed, distraction, aggressive driving, defective automobile parts, unsafe roadways, and much more.  The survivors of fatal car accident victims are likely to feel bereaved, stressed, and confused. Often, the loss of the deceased puts a tremendous financial strain on the family.

The family members of those killed in car accidents can seek compensation for their loss through a wrongful death lawsuit.  Our Miami wrongful death lawyers have prepared the following guide to wrongful death actions in Florida:

What is a Wrongful Death?

Published on:

The use of pain medication is rampant in the United States. Whether it is prescribed for back pain, cancer patients, or for those who recently underwent surgery, the use of this type of medication has grown across all ages and all types of people. As a result, our Miami personal injury lawyers see how it arguably has become the norm, which influences us to forget just how dangerous pain medication can be.

We all know about the addictive nature of pain medication, but we tend not to think about how a pharmacy error can be deadly. Pain medication is often the only form of pain relief available, so the dosage must be accurate, or serious injury, and even death, may occur. The pharmacy is the last step between the doctor prescribing the medication, and the patient ingesting the medication. Therefore, as patients, we heavily rely on a pharmacist’s expertise to dispense the proper dose of a medication.

Tragedy Strikes A 6-Year-Old Girl

In August 2013, a mother sued her longtime pharmacy for providing her 6-year-old daughter with a toxic dose of morphine that ended her life. According to the family’s attorney, the pharmacy provided a dose of morphine that was ten times greater than what had been prescribed. The dose of morphine was in liquid form. Just one dose was too much, with the young girl’s fate lying in the hands of the pharmacist.

This young girl had sickle cell anemia, a disease that causes excruciating pain. The small dose of morphine that was supposed to alleviate the young girl’s suffering ultimately ended her life. Had the pharmacy simply filled the prescription as directed by the doctor, this young girl may still be alive today.

What We Expect From Our Pharmacists
Continue reading →

Contact Information