What Happened In Water Rapids Ride Accident That Killed Four?
At least one Florida theme park is shutting down its water rapids ride in response to a fatal water rapids ride accident at an Australian theme park that killed four adults. According to Central Florida News 13, Busch Gardens in Tampa has decided to shut down its Congo River Rapids water ride while investigators in Australia try to determine why two people were thrown from the Thunder River Rapids ride at the Dreamworld theme park in Queensland, Australia, and killed, and two others were killed while still within the ride. Thunder River Rapids features large, multi-person rafts that float down a not-so-lazy river. It is not considered particularly dangerous. The ride is considered to be family-friendly and even allows children to ride. There is no word as to whether the other large theme park operators in Florida — Universal Studios and Walt Disney World — plan to shut down their similar rides such as Popeye and Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges at Islands of Adventure, or Kali River Rapids at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. As we have written previously here, many people do not realize that the rides at the large Florida theme parks are not safety-checked by the State of Florida. Our thoughts are prayers obviously go out to the surviving families of the victims. A theme park is almost the very last place most people would expect to suffer such a staggering loss. We represent people who have been injured, or who have lost loved ones in accidents at Florida’s theme parks, including ride injuries. If you have any questions regarding a potential case or claim, please call me or Robert Hemphill at 407-254-4901, or visit www.cullen-hemphill.com.
Did Defective Road Contribute To Tragic Car Crash In Bithlo/Christmas?
Many of us here in Winter Park — and especially those of us who are parents of recent and current Winter Park High School students — were shocked and saddened to learn of a tragic car accident that happened a couple of nights ago out in the Bithlo/ Christmas area. The one-car crash killed Thomas Stutts and Justin Vail, and injured Omokolap Hunpatin, after the SUV they were traveling in left the roadway of Fort Christmas Road, crashed through a fence, and into a tree. The coverage that I saw was from the good folks at WESH.com (who I think always do a great job on local reporting.) As an attorney who has handled car accident and wrongful death cases for a long time, a couple of things struck me about the story. First, I was shocked at the destruction to the SUV that these young men had been driving in. I was, frankly, surprised that anyone could have survived this crash. I was not surprised to hear from the Florida Highway Patrol that speed may have been a factor in the crash. However, my interest really perked up when the WESH reporter started interviewing neighbors, who reported that horrible accidents (many of them involving fatalities) happen along that seemingly quiet road all the time. Video captured for the story showed multiple crosses and other memorials laid out beside Fort Christmas Road where other fatal crashes have presumably occurred. Normally, a governmental entity cannot be held responsible for planning-level decisions — such the decision to build a road, or where the road will travel, or where to put a stop sign. However, when it becomes apparent that something about the design of the road contains some kind of defect or makes for a dangerous condition, then a governmental entity can be held responsible for damages for personal injuries or wrongful death. When I hear about multiple deaths on the same stretch of road over a period of time, I start to wonder whether we have a defective road. I become suspicious that perhaps the County, or State, or whichever entity built that road, could have done more to make it safer – like perhaps installed barriers on the edge of the roadway, or speed humps, or some other similar seemingly simple remedy that might have saved these young men’s precious lives. If you have any questions regarding a Florida car accident or wrongful death case, please call Winter Park personal injury attorneys Kim Cullen and Robert Hemphill at 407-254-4901 for […]
Even Rock Stars Are Not Immune From Insurance Denials
The rock band Foo Fighters has apparently had to sue an insurance company, Lloyd’s of London, over the cancellation of several concert dates in Europe last summer – according to an article by InsuranceJournal.com. The band cancelled dates in Paris shortly after the deadly terrorist attacks there. The band was scheduled to play, but was the victim of what appeared to be very serious threats from ISIL, the Middle Eastern terrorist organization. According to the lawsuit file in California, Lloyd’s of London has refused to pay. In Florida, such a lawsuit against an insurance company is typically called a Declaratory Action. Such a lawsuit would lay out why the insured believes he is entitled to insurance coverage, and would ask a judge to declare that there is, in fact, insurance coverage for a particular loss. In Florida, under most circumstances, if an insurance company is made to admit coverage and pay a claim as the result of a Declaratory Action, the insurance company came be made to pay all of the insured’s reasonable attorneys’ fees and court costs. This kind of “fee reversal” penalty is supposed to encourage insurance companies to pay legitimate claims, and to discourage coverage denials and delays. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always work. Our law firm continues to receive calls virtually every day from Florida consumers who have been unfairly denied coverage by insurance companies. If an insurance company is willing to deny coverage to a world-famous rock band like Foo Fighters — an organization that obviously has the financial might and wherewithal to fight such a denial through the legal process — is it any surprise that an insurance company would deny coverage to an average customer? Our firm handles cases involving insurance denials. If you have any questions about a Florida insurance dispute, please call Winter Park Attorneys Kim Cullen and Robert Hemphill at 407-254-4901, or visit their main website at www.cullen-hemphill.com for more information.