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Posts made in January, 2015

Was The Drunk Driver In Your Accident Illegally Served By A Bar or Restaurant?

Posted by on Jan 14, 2015 in Motor vehicle accidents, Types of Accidents, Uncategorized

Was The Drunk Driver In Your Accident Illegally Served By A Bar or Restaurant?

I saw an interesting article on the insurancejournal.com website about a lawsuit that was recently filed in Wyoming by two women who had been injured in a crash involving a drunk driver.  Unlike a typical car accident case where the claim or lawsuit is brought against the negligent driver, the ladies in the Wyoming case brought their claim against the bar that served the negligent drunk driver.  According to allegations in the injured ladies’ legal Complaint, the negligent drunk driver was underage, and the people who were running the bar where the underage girl was provided the alcohol knew that she was underage. In Florida, cases like this one in Wyoming fall under a category of claims called “dram shop” cases.  Like most states, Florida law generally protects bars and restaurants from liability when one of their patrons leaves a bar or restaurant a little intoxicated and causes injuries to someone else.  However, in Florida, there are exceptions.  Florida Statute Section 768.125 make it unlawful for any person (or business) to sell or furnish alcoholic beverages to a person under 21, or to a person who is habitually addicted to alcohol, and makes the person (or business) liable for any damages caused by the underage drinker or alcoholic. As a lawyer who has handled a number of dram shop cases over the years on behalf of injured people (and the families of those killed by drunk drivers), I can tell you that putting together a viable dram shop case against a bar or restaurant can be challenging.  However, many times it is worth it when the drunk driver has limited or no insurance and there is no other avenue of recovery.  This is particularly true when the damages are catastrophic, or result in a wrongful death claim for families member whose lives have been ruined by a drunk driver. An argument can certainly be made that businesses who profit from providing alcohol to people who should not be in possession of it, and then allow them to get behind the wheel of a car, should be made to pay damages to those who have been injured by their greedy business practices. If you have any questions regarding a crash involving a drunk driver in Florida, or if you believe that the person who hit you had been drinking at a local bar or restaurant shortly before your crash, please call Winter Park personal injury attorneys Kim Cullen and Robert Hemphill at...

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Doesn’t Two Murders At Ocala Apartment Complex In 18 Months Suggest Negligent Security?

Posted by on Jan 13, 2015 in Negligent Security

Doesn’t Two Murders At Ocala Apartment Complex In 18 Months Suggest Negligent Security?

The wesh.com website is reporting that U.S. Marshalls in Georgia have captured a 21-year old  man accused of killing 23-year-old Antonio Jones at the Spring Manor Apartment complex in Ocala a couple of weeks ago.  Apparently, Mr. Jones and the shooter got involved in some kind of argument that unfortunately escalated into a shooting, and subsequent wrongful death. As an Orlando negligent security lawyer who has represented many people who have been shot (and sometimes the families of those who have been killed) in the common areas of apartment complexes, the most interesting part of the story from my perspective is the fact that the Spring Manor Apartments was also the scene of a shooting/murder in July 2013. As should be well-known to any regular reader of this blog, apartment complexes are legally responsible for securing their properties, residents, and guests based upon what they know about crime on their properties, as well as what they know about crime in the areas around their properties.  To me, having a shooting/murder occur at your apartment complex should tell the management at the apartment complex that something is lacking regarding security.  It would seem to me that a reasonable and responsible management organization would take steps to beef up security.  Such steps might include putting fencing around, and gates at the entrance of, the complex, and having more security guards patrolling the property and providing more of a visual deterrence. The senseless murder of Antonio Jones only happened 18 months after the prior murder.   I have to wonder how much security was in place at Spring Manor on December 29, 2014.  Evidently, not enough. If you have questions regarding an apartment complex shooting or negligent security case anywhere in Central Florida including Ocala, Orlando, or Winter Park, call Winter Park personal injury attorneys Kim Cullen and Robert Hemphill at...

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Punitive Damages Appropriate For Drunk Driving Texting?

Posted by on Jan 12, 2015 in Motor vehicle accidents, Uncategorized

Punitive Damages Appropriate For Drunk Driving Texting?

As a frequent blogger on legal issues over the last several years, I spend a lot of time looking for stories and thinking of ways that I can can blog about topics that will be instructive to people (and particularly Floridians) who are in need of information relative to Florida personal injury law.  Along these lines, I read a harrowing article in the New York Times that seems like a perfect illustration of a case where punitive damages should be available, and should be sought in a personal injury case. In the case at issue, an avid bicyclist (who, ironically, was also an outspoken bicycle safety advocate) from the Baltimore, Maryland area, was hit and killed by a car being driven by a prominent Bishop in the Maryland Episcopal Diocese. According to police, the Bishop was legally intoxicated at the time of the crash, and was also texting.  In addition, the Bishop reportedly left the scene of the crash, and the bicyclist in the road, while she drove home and called one of her church colleagues to help her.  Needless to say, the Bishop made several outrageous errors in judgment that lead to the death of the bicyclist. It has been the law in Florida for a long time that punitive damages can be sought in any case involving drunk driving.  Courts have decided that drunk driving is such a scourge in society that anyone who does it and causes injuries needs to be punished over-and-above adequately compensating the injured victim. The law in Florida is a little less settled when it comes to punishing drivers who injure someone while they are texting, although recent trends suggest that texting while driving should be cause for punitive damages. However, when those two clearly dangerous and life-threatening driving behaviors are combined, it would seem appropriate to levy some kind of extra punitive damages — if such a thing were possible. There is nothing more dangerous that I can think of than for a drunk person to drive and text at the same time.  Catastrophic results are almost guaranteed to happen. (As an additional aggravating factor in the Baltimore case, it appears that the Bishop had recently been charged in another case with driving under the influence.  This, of course, suggests that the Bishop has a drinking problem and perhaps should not have been on the road.) I certainly do not know whether a civil claim for wrongful death was, or has been, brought against the Bishop on behalf of the Estate and survivors of the deceased bicyclist.  I certainly hope that one has, and that the Bishop’s insurance company has adequately compensated the family of the deceased.  For the sake of the surviving family, I also hope that the bicyclist carried plenty of Uninsured/Underinsured motorist coverage.  Many people do not realize that this type of coverage can be used to compensate...

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