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Posts made in February, 2013

What If A Florida Traffic Crash Report Is Wrong?

Posted by on Feb 27, 2013 in Motor vehicle accidents

What If A Florida Traffic Crash Report Is Wrong?

Believe it or not, a Florida Traffic Crash Report is not the final word when it comes to assessing who is at fault in a Florida car accident case. In fact, crash reports are inadmissible in every personal injury case under Florida. I recently recorded this video where I discuss one of our recent cases, and what our own investigation revealed that was contrary to the crash...

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Was Teacher’s Assistant’s Abuse of Autistic Child Isolated and Unanticipated?

Posted by on Feb 27, 2013 in Child Sexual Abuse

Was Teacher’s Assistant’s Abuse of Autistic Child Isolated and Unanticipated?

A report on the clickorlando.com website indicates that Jacqueline Zuniga, a 39-year old teacher’s aide at Pine Ridge Elementary School in Clermont, has been arrested on charges of child abuse. According to law enforcement, Ms. Zuniga was assigned to work with special needs children, including a child with autism. Apparently, the autistic child hit and bit her. At that time she suggested that she might retaliate if he kept doing it. A few minutes later, as the child lay on the floor, Ms. Zuniga picked him up by the arm, and threw him five feet away into a wall. The child hit the wall so hard he was knocked unconscious. Although the school reportedly immediately removed Ms. Zuniga and placed her on leave, as a Florida child abuse lawyer, I think there are still questions that need to be answered. For example, I would be curious to know what kind of special training Ms. Zuniga had received before being placed in a special needs classroom. In my experience, teachers with special needs training rarely threaten their students with retaliation. Generally, they are specially trained to anticipate that autistic children may act and get physical with them. Under no circumstances is it ever appropriate for a teacher or teacher’s aide to throw a child across the room. The Lake County School Board could be held liable for any damages caused by Ms. Zuniga’s reported actions. Hopefully, they will see fit to make sure that other special needs teachers and teachers’ aides receive proper training to deal with autistic...

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Nightclub Held Liable In Monster Truck Drunk Driving Death

Posted by on Feb 26, 2013 in Motor vehicle accidents

The family of a young woman who was killed when she was run over by a “monster truck” in the parking lot of a nightclub has received a $10.5 million verdict against the driver AND the nightclub. According to the Insurancjournal.com website, the 23-year old victim was exiting the nightclub when she was struck by a huge, jacked-up pickup truck that was being driven by a man who had been drinking inside the nightclub. Apparently, evidence presented at trial proved that the driver of the truck was already drunk even before he arrived at the nightclub. Evidently, nightclub employees kept serving him additional drinks.  The driver plead guilty to manslaughter and is spending time in prison. As a Florida personal injury lawyer, wrongful death verdicts like this are important because they show what it takes to hold a bar or nightclub liable in a drunk driving accident. Under Florida law, bars and nightclubs are generally immune from liability for alcohol-related mishaps, subject to a couple of exceptions. One exception is when the drunk driver is an underage drinker. The other exception is when a bar serves alcohol to someone who is already intoxicated, or is a habitual drunk. These cases are often very difficult to pursue. Bars and nightclubs have a host of defenses at their disposal: that the underage drinker presented a fake ID; that the patron was not obviously drunk; that the patron was not a known drunk to the workers at the bar; and others. I am certainly glad that the family of the young lady in the Insurance Journal story received some measure of justice. Money will never bring their daughter back, but this award may cause the nightclub in question to be more careful next...

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