Florida Pedestrian Killed by Alleged Drunk Driver Was "Good Soul"

October 7, 2015

Fifty-two-year-old Robert Wimpey was wearing a bright yellow vest as he walked the sidewalk along Northwest 90th Way.

The Port of Miami worker who served as the sole support for his 72-year-old ill mother and his 19-year-old student daughter was walking his miniature Doberman Pinscher early one recent Friday morning when it happened: An alleged drunk driver came barreling down the cross street and lost control when accelerating mid-turn, causing the vehicle to skid sideways for 75 feet, striking Wimpey.

The man allegedly behind the wheel, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, was Michael Vincent Smith. The 32-year-old was seen by witnesses in the wake of the accident, down on the ground with the severely injured Wimpey. He was sobbing, begging for help and screaming, "I'm sorry! I didn't mean to do this!"

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Florida Airboat Collision Causes Injury, Spawns Lawsuit

October 3, 2015

Two firefighters, one from Broward County and another from Palm Beach, suffered serious injuries in an airboat collision in the Everglades with a vessel operated by an employee of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC).

Now, both are suing the agency, alleging vicarious liability for the negligence of the operator and also direct liability for failing to train employee to know, understand and operate the agency's airboat safely.

According to a report from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the two firefighters were on a leisure trip in the Everglades, traveling by airboat down a narrow channel along Alligator Alley. It was then they both spotted another airboat traveling in the opposite direction, straight toward them.

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Fatal Shooting at Florida Nightclub Raises Issue of Premises Liability

September 30, 2015

A 19-year-old Palm Beach State College student and star basketball player was gunned down in front of an Ocala nightclub while in town to visit family and friends on the weekend. She planned to return to campus the following Sunday evening, but her parents got a call in the middle of the night, waking them to their worst nightmare.
Investigators told the Ocala Star Banner at least one gunman opened fire into the crowd outside Cloud 9 nightclub, striking Benetria Robinson, a college freshman who was also taking online classes at Florida State University.

Her mother and several other mourners went to the site the next morning, losing composure when they saw blood on the sidewalk where she fell. At least five others were shot, though the rest are all expected to survive.

The horrific scene raises questions about what the nightclub could have done to prevent such a tragedy.

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Risperdal Danger Highlighted in 15-Part Docu-Series

September 24, 2015

When we are prescribed medicine or the use of medical devices by our doctors, we trust that those devices are safe for the purpose intended when used as directed. We also trust that if there are risks known to the manufacturer of those drugs or devices, they will be disclosed so we can make educated choices about the course of treatment.

Unfortunately, there are some larger pharmaceutical companies that appear more concerned with driving up profits than protecting patients, and have the deep pockets to consider any resulting litigation a "cost of doing business." This dynamic is highlighted in a phenomenal, in-depth, 15-story series by veteran reporter Steve Brill in the The Huffington Post.

Titled, "America's Most Admired Lawbreaker," the series delves into systemic problems of a multi-billion company, Johnson & Johnson, accused of illegal promoting anti-psychotic medication Risperdal to children and the elderly - with horrible side effects for children and potentially fatal outcomes with the elderly. The company aggressively marketed these products to these populations, while hiding information about breast development in boys and lethal outcomes for older users.

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Logan v. Miss. Dept. of Transp. - Injury Lawsuit for Dangerous Bridge

September 20, 2015

A single-car crash allegedly occurred as a result of an improperly-repaired bridge.
Plaintiffs, who were injured, found out about the alleged road defect after their daughter-in-law, who arrived on scene, spoke with members of the state department of transportation. Although unauthorized by their employer to speak on the issue, the state workers reportedly informed the daughter-in-law their office was advised of an issue earlier that day. They indicated she might want to take photographs of the two metal plates sticking up in the roadway.

It was those two, criss-crossed plates that allegedly caught the undercarriage of plaintiffs' vehicle as they passed over the bridge, causing the driver to lose control and spin out.

Now, the Mississippi Supreme Court has cemented their right to pursue damages against the state department of transportation - responsible for overseeing the repairs - on claims of failure-to-maintain and failure to warn.

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O'Connor v. George - Material Misrepresentation of Fact in Auto Accident Lawsuit

September 17, 2015

A new trial has been granted to a car accident victim who successfully asserted before a state supreme court that the defense misrepresented material evidence.
She had been seeking more than $17,000 in damage, but only received $4,000 at trial; - which was far less than even what defense counsel thought was reasonable under the circumstances.

Now, she will have an opportunity for a retrial after the Montana Supreme Court found that was the only fair remedy for plaintiff, who was unduly prejudiced when defense counsel admitted into evidence photographs of defendant's vehicle that did not reflect the accident in question, but rather a different collision that happened a year later. Not only that, but defense stipulated when those photos were admitted that the images reflected the damage in question, even though it was later conceded the images were of a different crash.

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Back Injury Lawsuits Shut Down Thrill Ride

September 13, 2015

A county health department suspended the license of a water coaster amid a series of lawsuits alleging the amusement park ride caused them to suffer back injuries and spinal injuries.
A local news outlet in Rockford, Ill. has identified at least seven lawsuits against the park district pertaining to the "Splash Blaster" water roller coaster since July 2014. Six of those seven claims were filed in 2015. Two individuals even suffered severe back injuries on the very same day.

The ride reportedly works like this: There's a two-person, inflatable raft transported by a conveyor belt that operates some 35 feet above the ground. The raft then takes a sudden, dramatic drop through an unlit tunnel and is then shot through the rest of the ride with high-powered water jets. Passengers have no control, and riders aren't able to choose their raft; instead, they are simply given the next available raft in the system. Many of the pending lawsuits center around the fact the rafts were not properly inflated and therefore didn't give riders the proper bodily support as they proceeded through the ride.

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Florida Child Injured by Pest Fumigation, Family Claims

September 8, 2015

A 10-year-old Florida boy has endured weeks of hospitalization and has suffered severe brain damage after suffering ill effects of exposure to fumigation chemicals in the family home, his parents say.chemicals2.jpg

Although the family has not yet filed a personal injury lawsuit, that seems a likely next step for the Palm City family. The once athletic, outgoing boy has lost 90 percent of his motor function. He is unable to walk and talk, and he is still suffering from seizures. He's lost all function in his left arm and left leg. It's unclear whether he'll recover or to what extent.

According to media reports of the ordeal, the family hired a company to spray their home for termites. The job was handed off to a subcontractor, who performed the work on Aug. 14th. Two days later, the family was told by the company it was safe to go back inside and resume their lives.

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Labor Day Drunk Driving in Florida Costs Lives

September 4, 2015

The Labor Day weekend is a time to honor the nation's workers. It's also unfortunately for some an excuse to drink and drive in Florida.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that during the 2013 Labor Day holiday, which runs the course of the long weekend, almost half of those ages 18 to 34 killed in traffic accidents were in crashes that involved a drunk driver. Further, just in 2013, more than 200 children younger 14 in the U.S. died in drunk driving crashes over the long weekend. Even drunk drivers themselves aren't safe. Between 2009 and 2013, more than 500 drunk drivers were killed during labor day weekend.

In response to this dire issue, many law enforcement agencies throughout Florida - and the country - are initiating public awareness campaigns as well as increased DUI enforcement effort. The goal is to drive down the number of drunk driving deaths during the Labor Day holiday.

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Study: Bicycle Injuries, Deaths Increase With Ridership

September 2, 2015

Bicycle ridership is increasingly touted as a cheap, easy, environmentally-friendly way to burn calories and get to your destination.

There is ample evidence to suggest bicycle ridership has increased in Florida and nationally over the last several years. This is good for our air quality and overall health.

But there are some downsides to it as well, most notably being the dramatic rise in the number of bicyclist injuries and deaths.

Recently, the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) published a study analyzing the number of bicycle trauma injuries and hospital admissions in the U.S. between 1998 and 2013. Doctors reported that the number of hospital admissions due to bicycle injuries during this time nearly doubled during this time.

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Father of Teen Killed in DUI Crash Sues Girl's Friends, Parents

August 30, 2015

The tragic death of a 17-year-old in Connecticut has affected many lives forever, including those of her parents and also her peers, who allegedly allowed her to get behind the wheel with a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.27 - more than three times the legal limit for someone over the age of 21. It's 13 times the legal limit of 0.02 for a driver under the age of 21.
The girl had been drinking at a party prior to the crash. Four teenage boys got into the vehicle she had borrowed from her parents. She didn't drive initially, one of those 16-year-old boys did. He dropped off one of the other boys. He then drove to his own house and got out of the vehicle. At that point, another of male teen passengers got behind the wheel of the car and drove to his own home. There, he and the fourth boy got out, leaving the visibly impaired 17-year-old with her own keys. They never tried to stop her.

Less than a mile down the road, she crashed her vehicle into a tree and was pronounced dead. The last two of her friends to see her alive are facing charges of reckless endangerment for allowing her to drive drunk. And now, the girl's father has filed a civil lawsuit against not just them, but their parents, as well as the female teen host of the party and her parents, for negligently supplying alcohol.

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Report: Hit-and-Run Crashes Spike in South Florida

August 26, 2015

Authorities in Plantation have launched an extensive investigation into the death of a 31-year-old Davie man who was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver.

The man was driving when he crashed at an intersection of South Pine Island Road. For unknown reasons, the truck veered off the road and struck a utility pole. His 37-year-old passenger was ejected from the vehicle in that initial impact and later pronounced dead at the scene. But the driver managed to crawl out of his truck. As he did so, he was struck by a passing vehicle. The other driver failed to stop. Victim was rushed to a nearby hospital where he also was pronounced dead.

Police have released detailed information to the public, hoping for a break in the case.

Sadly, it's just one of many hit-and-run cases in South Florida. In fact, despite a law that hardens the penalties for those convicted of hit-and-run, the crime is on the rise.

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