Articles Posted in wrongful death

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South Florida Airbnb injury lawyerAirbnb is a household name – a wildly popular online platform for parties arranging vacation stays or experiences. According to insurance comparison site The Zebra, Airbnb has nearly 6 million active listings worldwide, operating in at least 100,000 cities with over 1 billion guests staying at these properties. But what happens if you suffer a Florida Airbnb injury? As our Naples personal injury lawyers can explain, there are some unique aspects of these cases, so it’s important to discuss your rights with a civil trial lawyer who practices in the region where the accident or injury occurred. If you’re hurt in a Florida Airbnb injury, you should be consulting with a Florida injury lawyer.

Recently, a Florida man filed a federal lawsuit in the U.S. District for the Northern District of Georgia against the California-based Airbnb and a pair of its hosts after the man was injured while riding a tree swing on the property. According to Law.com, the man’s premises liability lawsuit alleges the property owners bear responsibility for the property’s maintenance – and that includes the tire swing on site. The property owners installed the tire swing and maintained it, and it was advertised on Airbnb as an amenity that business invitees were enticed to use. Yet, that swing was in “unreasonably dangerous condition,” according to the plaintiff. According to the complaint, the tree limb to which the swing was attached was rotten, fragile, and otherwise incapable of supporting the weight of an adult person. Plaintiff, unaware of this, was using the swing when the branch from which it hung broke, causing him to fall “violently” to the ground, suffering injury to his leg, knee and back. He’s seeking more than $100,000 in compensation for his injuries.

There have been many other reported incidents of Airbnb injuries in recent years. Among these:

  • A 35-year-old Canadian woman died of carbon monoxide poisoning at a Taiwanese Airbnb. The company offered her family $2 million to settle (denying liability by calling it a “humanitarian gesture”), but her family opted to continue with their wrongful death lawsuit.
  • A 37-year-old California man suffered a spinal injury after falling into a pool at an Airbnb home in Cancun.
  • Two teens were killed and several injured at a party thrown at an Airbnb-rented property in Pennsylvania. The incident prompted Airbnb to make permanent its ban on parties at Airbnb rentals (initially a public safety measure at the start of the pandemic).

As property owners making a profit off guest stays at their home, Airbnb hosts are going to be held to a higher legal standard than your typical homeowners. They’ll be viewed more in line with business owners. In Florida, business invitees to a property (those invited for the financial benefit of the property owner) are owed the highest duty of care. That means property owners must take care to regularly inspect the property and address any known or foreseeable safety issues. If such issues aren’t addressed right away, they have a duty to adequately warn guests of a potential hazard. Naples injury lawyer

When someone suffers a Florida Airbnb injury, they may be entitled to collect damages under Airbnb’s Host Protection Insurance. This plan automatically provides Airbnb hosts with $1 million in coverage in the event a guest is hurt while they’re staying at an Airbnb host’s site. Host liability covers hosts if they’re found legally responsible for bodily injury to guests or others. It generally doesn’t cover damages for things like: Continue reading

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Florida golf cart accident lawsuitIn a somewhat recently-filed South Florida golf cart accident lawsuit, plaintiffs allege an elderly gentleman died because a reckless driver failed to use reasonable care.

As our Florida golf cart accident lawyers can explain, per F.S. 316.212, golf carts incapable of traveling more than 20 mph aren’t typically allowed to be operated on public roads – unless the roadway has a posted speed limit of 30 mph or less and is specifically designated for golf cart use. Golf carts are allowed to cross portions of a county road intersecting with a road approved for golf carts or a road that intersects a golf course or mobile home park. In any case, the roadway should have posted signs clearly indicating golf cart crossings. Operators of golf carts need not be licensed, but if they’re going to operate on a designated public roadway, they must be at least 14-years-old.

The recent case out of Delray Beach involved an 83-year-old grandfather who died in June after his golf cart was reportedly struck by a car at a crossing near a golf course. The decedent was reportedly crossing South Ocean Boulevard at an intersection with golf cart crossing signs. The Florida golf course accident lawsuit alleges the car driver was speeding, disregarded golf cart warning signs, and improperly passed another vehicle on the road before striking the cart.

 

According to Palm Beach Daily News, the decedent and his friend had just finished half of their first round of golf and were on their way to the other side of the course – by way of a designated crossing – when they were struck. The posted speed limit on the road is 35 mph. The police reported the defendant driver was traveling somewhere between 45-70-mph at the time of the collision. He reportedly didn’t see the golf cart before it was too late. The cart spun and then flipped. The passenger was pinned underneath, while the decedent was ejected, struck the passenger side of the car and ultimately landed on the road. He later died at the hospital, and is survived by his wife, adult children, and grandchildren.

While the Florida golf cart accident lawsuit is pending in civil court, a state prosecutor declined to press criminal charges. The assistant state attorney said that while the driver was careless behind the wheel, his actions didn’t rise to the level of a criminal offense. Police had initially sought a warrant in the case for vehicular homicide, but the state attorney has prosecutorial discretion. This, of course, underlines a key point in civil litigation, which is that the goals and proof burdens are very different than in criminal court. It isn’t necessary for someone to be charged or convicted in criminal court to prevail in a civil lawsuit. Instead, what is needed is to establish failure to use reasonable care, which is defined as the degree of caution a reasonable person would use in the same or similar circumstances. Continue reading

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Florida concert injuriesDroves of music-lovers flock to concerts and music festivals because they thrive on the rush of shared energy and musical collaboration. But the presence of so many bodies in close proximity can have deadly consequences, as we saw recently at the Travis Scott Astroworld Festival tragedy in Houston, TX. Crowd surge has been cited in the deaths of at least 9 people and the serious injuries of dozens more. Mounting lawsuits against the performer, the venue, and the organizers are asserting negligence resulting in the concert injuries and deaths.

Scott’s performances are known to be marked by rowdiness bordering on danger, and the singer has even been arrested twice in the past for encouraging people to rush the stage in direct defiance of public safety orders. Among the Astroworld injury claims filed so far, plaintiffs accuse Scott of having actively encouraged and fomented dangerous behaviors leading to death and serious injury. A criminal investigation into the deaths is also underway. Although it’s early in the investigation/discovery process, the general consensus by crowd safety experts appears to be that these concert injuries were preventable.

As longtime Florida injury lawyers and wrongful death attorneys, we recognize that while this is one of the most significant concert injury cases in recent memory, it’s sadly far from the first. In fact, previous incidents are precisely why large venues and product companies typically have a long list of stringent safety protocols that must be followed. Most notably, National Fire Protection Association standards have provisions that include things like:

  • One crowd manager per every 250 people – at the very least.
  • Expected occupant loads in excess of 6,000 require a life safety evaluation that assesses safe egress and danger mitigation for large numbers, given expected crowd behaviors, nature of the event/participants, potential severe weather conditions, hazardous materials incidents, medical emergencies, civil disturbances, etc.
  • Emergency Action Plans that include a minimum of 18 different considerations, such as building details, staff training, evacuation procedures, designated staff responsible for emergency duties (and proper training), drills, etc. These EAPs should be approved by the authority having jurisdiction.
  • In areas of assembled occupancies of up to 10,000 square feet, the occupant load shouldn’t exceed one person for every 7 square feet.

It is not immediately clear whether these provisions were followed at Astroworld, but some safety experts have gone on record to opine they likely weren’t. Standing-room only setups are known to be among the most dangerous and deadly crowd configurations at large events. It’s imperative these areas don’t get overpacked and that there are specially-trained crowd managers and medical teams on hand. Throngs of this size are supposed to be constantly monitored by these specialists, and issues promptly and properly addressed before problems pass the point of no return. Continue reading

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Florida distracted driving crashesFood delivery services, such as Uber Eats, Grubhub, and DoorDash, have been doing booming business in recent years. The online food delivery industry is now generating more than $26 million annually, and nearly one-third of Americans say they used food delivery services twice a week. But as their popularity has risen, so too have reported Florida distracted driving crashes attributed to their drivers.

Last year, there was the tragic case of an Uber Eats driver allegedly slamming into the back of a motorcycle in Tampa, killing a 19-year-old University of Tampa student on the rear of the bike and permanently injuring her brother, the operator. The 33-year-old food delivery service driver was reportedly on her phone making a delivery near campus when the crash occurred. According to The Tampa Bay Times, the police cited the driver for failure-to-yield, but the citation was tossed when the traffic officer failed to appear in court – a ruling the police department is appealing. No criminal charges have been filed, but the victim’s family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit. They allege Uber, its subsidiary, and the driver are all liable for their daughter’s untimely death. Specifically, they say the driver was rushed and inattentive/on her phone, and that Uber is negligent in failing to train her and for encouraging driver distraction with a feature that prompts workers to communicate with customers while they’re driving. Plaintiffs also say the company hired the driver despite a poor driving record that included citations for speeding, carelessness, and a crash.

Similar cases have been reported from Boston to San Francisco. There are currently numerous, ongoing personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits against the drivers, vehicle owners, and delivery app companies.

Factors in Food Delivery Driver Crashes

The reality is food delivery drivers have always been slightly more prone to crashes, even before smartphones were everywhere. In fact, they have one of the highest occupational fatalities rates in the U.S. Primary factors driving up crashes for food delivery drivers: Continue reading

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Southwest Florida personal injury lawyerWhen it comes to civil litigation, there are many similarities and differences between Florida personal injury and wrongful death cases. As longtime South Florida injury attorneys, we will do our best to explain some of these – and why they matter.

Let’s start with some of the ways in which personal injury cases and wrongful death cases are analogous. To start, they are both torts, which are claims stemming from a wrongful act that resulted in legal liability. They can result from the same types of accidents, including:

  • Car accidents.
  • Slip, trip and fall accidents.
  • Medical malpractice.
  • Dangerous/defective products.
  • Dangerous property/premises liability.
  • Nursing home neglect and abuse.
  • Workplace accidents.

Both are claims for which civil litigants can pursue damages (financial compensation for losses). Further, both have a set period of time in which they can be filed, called a statute of limitations.

But there are numerous key differences, namely who files the claim, what type of damages they can collect and how much time they have to pursue it. Continue reading

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negligent apartment security lawyerThe death of a young college student at the hands of her apartment maintenance worker has driven her family to push for better apartment security, both in a Florida wrongful death lawsuit and a proposed bill. The latter could have significant implications for the 35 percent (2.8 million) Floridians who live in apartments.

According to authorities, Miya Marcano was slain by a maintenance worker with a spotty criminal past. She’d reportedly complained to apartment management that his unsolicited sexual overtures made her uncomfortable. Police say her attacker used a master key fob to gain access to the 19-year-old’s apartment the day of her death. The maintenance worker committed suicide a few days after her disappearance in September. Her body was later found near an old residence of his.

The following month, her family filed a Florida wrongful death lawsuit, alleging negligent security (a form of premises liability), negligent hiring, and negligent retention. They allege the the apartment complex that employed the maintenance worker ignored red flags that he might pose a danger to residents, particularly given Miya’s complaint and the fact that a different female resident at another apartment complex where he was previously employed had also complained about his unwanted advances. What’s more, the maintenance worker had essentially unfettered access to her apartment with his master key fob. This is something many Florida apartment complexes allow for various maintenance issues. Family members allege that clearly without proper oversight and in the wrong hands, such access is extremely dangerous.

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Florida elevator injury lawyerDangerous home elevators in use at rental properties throughout Florida and across the country have sparked an urgent call from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission for action by the vacation rental industry. At issue are gaps in the elevators that can pose a risk of serious physical injury and death, particularly for small children.

“These injuries and deaths are horrific, and we need the property owners and rental agencies to disable elevators immediately until they have been inspected,” wrote Acting CPSC Chairman Robert Adler.

Florida is a very popular spot for residential vacation rentals. According to one online platform, there are more than 215,000 Florida vacation homes for rent just on their site alone. The actual number of residential rentals is probably much higher, though it’s not clear how many of those sites have dangerous home elevators inside them.

The reported risk with residential elevators is that occupants can be fatally crushed in a space that exists sometimes between doors. As our Florida elevator injury attorneys can explain, with a deep gap between the outside door and the inside door, a child can go in, close the outside door without opening the inside door. They then get entrapped between the two. If the elevator moves, it’s going to have tragic consequences. A 2019 investigation by The Washington Post indicated more than a half million residential elevators in the U.S. pose a risk.

As Fort Myers injury attorneys, we recognize this is not the first thing people want to picture when planning a getaway. Given the seriousness of the risk, however, vacationers as well as property owners must take the CPSC warning seriously. Continue reading

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Florida negligent security lawsuitsA popular Fort Myers Beach resort is facing two Florida negligent security lawsuits that allege the property owners did not take the safety of guests seriously.

For those who may be unfamiliar, negligent security is a type of premises liability claim filed in civil court demanding financial compensation if the owner or manager of a property fails to ensure adequate security, putting guests at heightened risk of criminal violence, including shooting, assault, battery and rape.

As our Fort Myers Beach hotel injury attorneys can explain, courts do not expect property owners to see into the future. Instead, they are expected to proactively address any reasonably foreseeable danger to guests. When they do not mitigate those risks or issue warnings, they can be held legally responsible in Florida negligent security lawsuits for breaching the duty of care owed to those harmed in violent acts on site. Continue reading

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Florida large truck accident cases

In the last decade, the number of deadly Florida large truck accident cases increased nearly 75 percent, with almost 300 reported in the most recent year, according to The Federal Motor Carrier Administration. On average, more than 3,000 people lose their lives in U.S. truck accidents annually. Federal data released last month indicated the number of people injured in large truck crashes – occupants and non-occupants – spiked 5.3 percent to 159,000 in 2019.

Trucks in Florida barrel daily down I-75 (including Alligator Alley through the Everglades), I-275, I-95, I-4 and I-10. They also rumble along U.S. 41 and on many rural routes in South Florida, posing a greater risk to other drivers.

Florida lawsuits involving large trucks such as 18-wheelers can be especially complex. As our Fort Myers truck accident lawyers can explain, you are not dealing with the just negligence of a single, private individual behind the wheel. Rather, like layers of an onion, there are likely to be numerous corporations, employees, vehicle owners, and insurers involved.

Further complicating matters is that Florida’s large truck accident cases tend to involve very serious injuries, much more so than the average car accident (perhaps unsurprising given that these vehicles can weigh up to 30 times as much as a car). Lives have been upended, shattered, or even lost. Meanwhile, companies know they have hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars on the line. Drivers may have their careers at stake. These defendants are usually well-funded inclined to invest heavily in protecting their own interests – no matter how tragic the circumstances. These are not the kind of cases that can be trusted to just any law firm.

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Florida emergency vehicle accidentsWe all know that when an emergency vehicle approaches with its lights flashing and sirens blaring, other motorists should make way – and fast. But what if you cannot move quickly enough? What if you did not see the lights or hear the sirens before it was too late? What if there were no lights or sirens activated at all?  Over the years our law firm has received many calls regarding Florida emergency vehicle laws;  As our South Florida injury lawyers can explain, state law allows for legal accountability in Florida emergency vehicle accidents in some circumstances. Proving it will likely require an extensive investigation, expert witness testimony, and an experienced legal team.

According to the National Safety Council, emergency vehicle crashes – those involving police vehicles, ambulances or fire trucks – caused 168 U.S. deaths in 2018. Of those, less than half (48 percent) occurred while the authorized vehicles’ lights and sirens were in use. Most of those who died were either an occupant of non-emergency vehicles or pedestrians (69%). Police vehicles were involved in the most fatal crashes (64%), followed by ambulances (28%), and then fire trucks (8%). These numbers provide some insight but do not give us a full picture as non-fatal crashes are not included.

F.S. 316.072 allows emergency vehicle operators some leeway when it comes to traffic rules. For example, they can proceed past a red light or through a stop sign – but only after slowing down as necessary for safe operation. They can exceed the maximum speed limit – so long as the driver does not endanger life or property. They can also disregard regulations governing direction, movement, or turning – but only so long as life or property is not endangered. Many departments also have written policies that outline the caution their employees should use when responding to an emergency.

What the law makes clear is that while these first responders are tasked with critically important duties for which seconds count, they do not have free reign to drive recklessly on our roads or needlessly endanger others.

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