Articles Posted in wrongful death

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802348_69751285.jpgA dispute over insurance coverage has developed between a Florida homeowners’ association (HOA) and its insurer after the mother of slain 17 year-old Trayvon Martin claimed compensation for the death of her son. Martin was shot and killed by a resident in the neighborhood represented by the HOA. The insurance company filed a declaratory action in an Orlando federal court asking the court to declare that it is not responsible for covering the HOA on the mother’s claim.

The Trayvon Martin case has become well-known and highly controversial. Martin was visiting his father, who lived in a gated community in Sanford. The teenager was allegedly walking home from the store on the night of February 26, 2012, when he was shot and killed by 28 year-old George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer who claimed that he acted in self-defense. Martin’s family says that Zimmerman singled their son out because he was African-American, followed him through the neighborhood, and incited an altercation. Police arrested Zimmerman forty-four days after Martin’s death and charged him with second-degree murder. Zimmerman has entered a plea of not guilty and is out of jail with a $1 million bond.

Martin’s mother, Sybrina Fulton, filed a claim with Travelers Insurance, which covers the Retreat at Twin Lakes HOA. She requested in excess of $75,000 in damages for Martin’s death. She also filed a claim with the Florida Bureau of Victim Compensation, and was approved in March for a payment from the Crimes Compensation Trust Fund. Her claim to Travelers drew a quick response.

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983691_54702040.jpgThe mother of a high school football player who died during pre-season practice last summer announced her intention to file a lawsuit against the school system. She alleges that the school and its athletic department failed to adequately protect its players against heat-related injuries. Changes to the rules governing summer practices may help prevent future incidents in Florida high school football, but heat stroke and other injuries remain a serious problem for athletes around the country.

Isaiah Laurencin played in the offensive line of Miramar High School’s football team. The 16 year-old was 6-feet-3-inches tall, weighed 286 pounds, and had reportedly drawn the attention of college scouts. He collapsed on the field during conditioning drills at about 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, July 26, 2011. Doctors pronounced him dead at the hospital the following morning. The medical examiner ruled Laurencin’s death “natural,” saying it resulted from sickle cell trait anemia, which caused cardiac arrest due to physical exertion. Sickle cell anemia can cause heightened sensitivity to heat, and therefore higher susceptibility to heat stroke. Laurencin also reportedly suffered from asthma and hypertension.

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1359233_53491326.jpgA bicycle accident resulted in the death of a Coral Springs teenager who had been riding on the bicycle’s handlebars and was hit by a car. Police are reportedly searching for the person operating the bicycle, who fled the scene. No charges have been filed against the driver of the automobile.

The accident occurred just before 10:00 p.m. on Friday, July 6, 2012. A 1989 Lincoln was heading east on Royal Palm Boulevard. At the same time, a bicycle with a 16 year-old passenger riding on the handlebars attempted to cross the street heading north. The bicycle’s operator reportedly stopped abruptly, causing the passenger to stumble into the Lincoln’s path. The Lincoln then struck the teen. The injured teenager was transported to a hospital, where he died from his injuries on July 12. The operator of the bicycle, who remained unidentified as of the most recent reporting on the story, fled the scene on foot, heading east. The driver of the Lincoln was not injured.

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320px-Fort_Lauderdale_Skyline_7.jpgA driver’s attempt to pass another vehicle on the shoulder of Interstate 95 may have caused a three-car accident that left one person dead. The accident closed down the highway for four hours on a Saturday evening as investigators attempted to piece together the chain of events. The accident involved four people. One person was killed in the accident, and another was seriously injured. The other two people reportedly did not suffer injuries.

The accident occurred at approximately 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 14, 2012, in the southbound lanes of Interstate 95 in Fort Lauderdale. A man driving a 1999 Isuzu Rodeo reportedly attempted to use the right shoulder of the highway to pass a Ford Mustang. While changing lanes off of the shoulder after passing the Mustang, the Rodeo apparently clipped the Mustang’s front. This caused the Rodeo’s driver to lose control, and his vehicle flipped over. The Mustang veered to the left after the impact, colliding with a 2004 Volvo C70.

A 52 year-old passenger in the Rodeo was thrown from the vehicle when it rolled over. He was reportedly not wearing a seatbelt. Emergency responders pronounced him dead at the scene. The driver of the Rodeo was taken to the hospital with injuries described as “serious.” The drivers of the Mustang and the Volvo were not injured in the collision.

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836346_36652183.jpgAn alleged drunk driver crashed his pickup truck into a legendary Miami soul food restaurant the weekend before the 4th of July, killing two people and destroying the restaurant’s front. The driver now faces DUI manslaughter charges and multiple charges for driving under the influence, including several charges of DUI with property damage.

At about 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 30, 2012, several men were standing outside Jumbo’s Restaurant in Miami’s Liberty City neighborhood. Ken Knight, on of Jumbo’s owners, was talking to two regulars of the restaurant, Wilton Harris and Al Jo Hamlin. Harris and Hamlin, both of whom were pastors, had reportedly just come from a memorial for a Jumbo’s waitress who had died of cancer. Suddenly, according to Knight, a white pickup truck veered off of the street, into the parking lot, and directly towards the restaurant. Other witnesses said they saw the truck speed up as it approached Jumbo’s. Knight said he heard a boom and a crash. The pickup truck had hit a car parked in front of the restaurant, pushing it through the restaurant’s glass windows. The collision threw Hamlin through the window into the restaurant. Knight found Harris pinned under a truck. Both men were killed on impact. About eleven people were in the restaurant, but none of them were injured.

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1158220_39704248.jpgA national health care advocacy organization, the Trust for America’s Health (TFAH), recently released a report on injury-related deaths in all fifty states and the District of Columbia, entitled “The Facts Hurt: A State-By-State Injury Prevention Policy Report.” TFAH identified ten “key indicators” of injury prevention in state laws and regulations. The study ranked the states and D.C. based on the number of key indicators present, and it also ranked them based on the rate of deaths per 100,000 people. Florida ranked near the middle on both scales, with only six of the ten key indicators. The state’s annual rate of 66.8 injury-related deaths gives it the eighteenth-highest rate in the country.

Injuries account for over 180,000 deaths each year, according to the study. Among people between the ages of one and forty-four years, injuries are the leading cause of death. Injuries account for nearly 90,000 deaths in that age group, compared to 50,000 for non-communicable disease and less than 10,000 for communicable disease. The study divides injuries into categories, including falls, blunt force injuries, gunshot wounds, cuts or puncture wounds, burns, poisoning, vehicular injuries, and drowning or suffocation. In all, the lifetime costs of injuries, which includes not only immediately medical expenses but also the ongoing cost of care, lost income, and lost productivity, exceed $406 billion per year.

New Mexico has the highest overall injury-related death rate, according to TFAH, with 97.8 deaths per 100,000. New Jersey has the lowest rate at 36.1. Florida is just behind Colorado’s 67.8 and ahead of North Carolina’s 66. TFAH states in its report that it cannot say with certainty why one state has a lower or higher injury-related death rate than another state, but that its list of “key indicators” can offer states guidance on how to effectively prevent injuries.

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It was chilling to watch this tribute to the cyclist Aaron Cohen that was stuck and killed by a hit and run driver on Virginia Key recently. From all reports and interviews that was seen Aaron was an all round great guy – a great father to his kid and a great son to his parents and a best friend to all.

VIRGINIA KEY, Fla. (WSVN)Family and friends of a cyclist who lost his life after being struck by a hit-and-run driver gathered in his honor.

Thursday night, hundreds jogged up the bridge where 36-year-old Aaron Cohen was struck. Once the massive group of Cohen’s loved ones got to the top of the bridge, they dropped roses into the waters below.

According to police, Cohen and his friend, Enda Walsh, were biking across the Rickenbacker Causeway to Key Biscayne early Wednesday morning, when a vehicle hit them.

Police said the driver then fled the scene; Walsh suffered a broken ankle, and Cohen has a serious head injury.

The 36-year-old father of two was sent to the hospital in critical condition. However, Cohen succumbed to his injuries on Thursday afternoon.

His family was devastated. “We were a family all the time. His cousins, his aunts, his uncles, everybody loved him. Everybody loves him. He is just special,” said Cohen’s father, Stephen. “Aaron Cohen is probably the nicest person who has ever lived. He had no enemies, he never had a bad word to say about anybody, he was a fierce competitor, he was bright … He was the kind of son every father dreams about.”

Earlier Thursday, the hit-and-run driver, 26-year-old Michele Traverso, turned himself into police. He appeared in court, where he was charged with leaving the scene of an accident with serious bodily injury and driving with a suspended license.

Traverso has had a history with drugs: he was almost done completing a drug program that stemmed from a cocaine charge, and the charge against him would have been dropped had he finished the program.

However, Traverso’s new charges are a direct violation of the probationary program, and as a result, he will be held without bond for at least 24 hours. Also, Traverso’s charges will likely be upgraded because of Cohen’s death.

During Thursday night’s memorial, the words Aaron wrote just before he died were read, which he titled, Why I Run: “The short answer is, I run, because it makes me happy.”

The story above says it all, Aaron and his companion victims of a hit and run driver, luckily the driver turned himself in eventually and charges were made. Victims of hit and run accidents after seeking medical attention should seek immediate legal counsel from an experienced attorney to ensure you know your legal rights. Keep records of all medical bills, go back to the scene of the accident and take photographs of the area, also keep photographs of your injuries.

Should you or a loved find yourself a victim of this type ofinjury please contact an Attorney experienced in wrongful death law to ensure that you know your loved one’s rights. Contact us for your FREE consultation via telephone 954 431 8100 or 305 624 9186 or online.

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Recently whilst doing research on motor cycle safety for my blog I stumbled upon an article “Mandatory motorcycle safety training in two more states” on the website Clutch and Chrome. It states that motorcycle training has become mandatory for future riders in Connecticut and California before riders can take tests and licenses issued. Following Rhode Island and Florida that require riders to complete a safety course to get their license, this mandate was introduced in 2008.

In Connecticut the law took effect as of January 1st 2011 and was driven by the mother of a 19 year old boy that was killed in a accident when he collided with a minivan, although he was wearing a helmet he had not taken a safety education class. In the article she stated that she believes her son might be alive today if he had take a course for novice riders, which the prior to the mandate of January 1 2011 only applied to motor cycle applicants under the age of 18. The new requirement does not apply to Connecticut riders who already have a motorcycle endorsement or those who are moving from another state with a motorcycle endorsement.

DMV Commissioner states that this new requirement will ensure that all riders have proper training and safety education before acquiring a license to operate a motor cycle; he also went on to say that this law is all about making riders and their passenger’s safety.

The other state that has this similar legislation is California. The state mandate requires residents of California younger than 21 to complete a motor cycle safety course before they will be issued an instruction permit that will allow them to practice riding a motor cycle. The permit must be held for six months before the rider will receive his/her license.

This law also came about from a motorcycle tragedy; according the article three years ago 18 year old Jarred Cole was getting driving lessons from his dad Evan Cole who is an experienced rider in front of their home. He had passed the DMV written exam allowing him to get his learner’s permit. His dad was giving him his first lesson and he stepped into the garage to get some practice cones when he heard the motorcycle engine revving followed by an ominous thud as stated by Clutch and Chrome. Jarred died from a severed artery, doctors stated he could not be save him even if he lived across from the hospital. This tragedy got Jarred’s younger brother and his friend to launch a drive in their High School “Change State Law”.

As an experienced motor cycle attorney practicing in the cities of Fort Lauderdale, Sunrise, Margate, Coral Springs, Pembroke Pines, Miramar, Davie and Cooper City we always advise that once you have received personal injury stemming from a motor cycle accident you should seek legal counsel to ensure you are compensated for your damages and injuries received. Contact us online or call us at 954 431 8100 or 305 624 9186 to set up a FREE consultation to discuss your legal options.

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As a Pembroke Pines motorcycle accident lawyer, I was sorry to read about the death of a motorcyclist hit by a driver in West Palm last week. As the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported Jan. 29, that motorcyclist was identified Saturday as William Haythorn, who would have been 55 on Jan. 31. Haythorn died when a driver made a turn in front of him on the afternoon of Jan. 28. Vanessa Verdieu, 23, reportedly failed to yield to the motorcycle when she pulled out of a shopping center. It wasn’t reported whether Verdieu would face any criminal charges in relation to the crash.

According to an earlier article from the Palm Beach Post, the crash happened at around 3:15 p.m. on South Military Trail. Haythorn was heading south on Military Trail when Verdieu, in a silver sedan, pulled out of the Coco Plum Plaza and attempted to cross the road. Investigators from the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office said Verdieu failed to yield to Haythorn. Haythorn tried to avoid the car, but could not and was thrown from his motorcycle by the ensuing crash. Emergency workers took him to St. Mary’s Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead. No injuries to Verdieu were reported. The crash was serious enough to close the 2700 block of South Military Trail entirely as medics and law enforcement officers worked.

As a Miramar motorcycle accident attorney, I’d be interested to know whether Verdieu will face criminal charges. From the description in this article, it seems likely that she was or will be determined to be at fault in this crash. After all, “failure to yield” suggests that yielding was her correct role at the time. However, the term might mislead readers into believing that she intentionally failed to yield. In my experience, “failure to yield” is much more often a failure to notice that there was another vehicle coming. This is especially true in multi-vehicle motorcycle crashes, which are statistically most likely to be caused by another motorist’s failure to see the motorcycle. It’s easy to miss even obvious bikes when you aren’t expecting to see them, and thus fail to look or listen for them.

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As a Weston auto accident attorney, I was sorry to read about a major tanker truck accident that killed the truck driver as well as the driver of a pickup. As Florida Today reported Jan. 29, the police have released the names of Alexandra Marie Dugas, 19, and John Larchen Lynch, 42, both of whom were killed in the Jan. 21 accident. Dugas, of Merritt Island, reportedly rear-ended Lynch’s 18-wheeler in her Ford F-150, tipping both vehicles over. The crash unfortunately caused the 8,700 gallons of gasoline in the tanker part of the truck to explode, killing both drivers. The explosion also destroyed the Florida 528/Bennett Causeway overpass above Courtenay Parkway on Merritt Island, disrupting traffic around the area until at least mid-February.

Lynch, of Lauderhill, was reportedly driving west on 528 in the tanker truck when he was rear-ended by Dugas, in the pickup truck. The pickup truck overturned and rolled into the area formed by the 528 overpass over Courtenay Parkway, where it stopped on a concrete embankment. The large truck’s cab smashed through a guardrail into the eastbound side of the highway, while the tanker containing the gasoline fell off the bridge and landed next to the pickup, triggering the explosion. The ensuing fire killed both drivers and burned nearly all of the gasoline; Lynch was identified through dental records. Dugas was not officially identified, but family and friends confirmed to the newspaper that she was the other driver involved.

A friend of the Dugas family, Sandy Torres of Orlando, said the family had already been struggling financially and was not prepared for the costs related to the death of their 19-year-old daughter. As a Pompano Beach car accident lawyer, I’m sorry to say that very few families of ordinary means are prepared for a terrible accident like this. Money is not the top concern when a family member dies, of course, but it quickly becomes an issue when bills for a funeral, medical treatment and other costs come in. It can be an issue even sooner when the victim was a wage-earner who supported or helped support the family. When someone else caused the death out of carelessness, however, our firm can help the family recover those costs and others from the at-fault driver.

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