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Tampa Personal Injury Law Blog

Federal judge upholds judgment against sheriff in 2012 case

Florida's law enforcement personnel have an important job to do in keeping communities safe from crime and criminals who harm everyday citizens. The authority of police officers and sheriff's deputies, however, is granted by state law and prohibits any improper actions, reckless behavior or negligence that could harm or kill an innocent person.

A 2012 altercation that took the life of a 21-year-old man in Summerfield, about 75 miles north of Tampa, resulted in a wrongful death lawsuit that was decided in the plaintiffs' favor in May, but then was appealed by the defendants in June. In early July, a federal judge upheld the jury's original verdict and award, meaning the law enforcement agency involved will have to pay the man's family a multimillion-dollar award.

Three St. Petersburg women killed in fiery 3 a.m. car accident

Although most people prefer not to think too long about it, they know that tragedy can strike anywhere and at virtually any time. When it does strike in the form of a car accident and lives are lost, surviving family members often are left grieving and devastated. Their emotional trauma is often made worse, however, when they find out a hit-and-run driver was behind their loss.

Such a tragedy recently struck a St. Petersburg neighborhood when three women heading to a local grocery store died in a car accident around 3 a.m. According to police, the wreck at 16th Street near Ninth Avenue involved a 2004 Saturn and a 2012 Chrysler. Apparently the two vehicles were both driving southbound on 16th Street when the driver of the Saturn began to make a left turn into a parking lot. The Chrysler allegedly drove into the northbound lane, hitting the rear of the Saturn. A gas tank explosion immediately engulfed the Saturn and trapped its passengers. Two of the victims, ages 21 and 23, died in the car, and the third victim, their 25-year-old aunt, died later in the hospital from massive trauma and burns.

Man injured during rapper's concert sues for premises liability

Safety and security should always be the top concern for business owners. This philosophy holds true for event organizers, too, requiring them to ensure their events,, including parties and gatherings, are safe when held on their own property. Event planners and organizers must make certain that the property is free from hazardous conditions and elements that may result in injury to attendees, as the property owner may be responsible for accidents.

Cameron Jibril Thomaz, commonly known as rapper Wiz Khalifa, made headlines again, not for his new album, arrest or gig in Tampa Bay, Florida, but for a premises liability lawsuit filed against him. According to the report, Khalifa, Rostrum Records LLC, together with 40 others were named as defendants in a lawsuit filed in connection with an assault during a concert on April 11, 2013. The plaintiff claimed he was attacked and battered at a restaurant when two men initiated an unprovoked attack. The accuser said that he suffered significant injuries as a result of the assault.

S.C. affirms Florida families' wrongful death awards

Historically, lawsuits against the manufacturers of cigarettes in the United States have been tough to win. Some Florida families have experienced this difficulty firsthand, even when they have been able to show that tobacco companies knew the dangers of their products. For those who have lost loved ones to lung cancer and other smoking-related diseases, however, the fight against manufactures was always worth the effort.

Recently, justice seems to have been served for 11 Florida families who filed and won lawsuits against cigarette makers but who were denied immediate satisfaction when the tobacco companies stalled payments through years of appeals. In early June, the U.S. Supreme Court ordered tobacco companies to pay the families nearly $40 million in damages plus interest for product liability, wrongful death and other violations. The Court has given the tobacco companies just 30 days to pay all financial judgments.

Valrico woman allegedly hits and leaves injured motorcyclists

Looking out for others at all times on the road is a basic responsibility for all drivers and motorcyclists. When a motorcycle accident occurs, whether in the Tampa area or elsewhere, any driver involved is required by law to render aid to the victim if possible and report the incident to authorities. Whether or not the accident is the fault of the driver, leaving the scene of an accident is always a bad idea.

The recent arrest of a 45-year-old Valrico woman can serve as a reminder for drivers to remain at the scene of a crash. According to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Department, on May 15 the woman injured a couple in Brandon when her sports utility vehicle struck the motorcycle the couple was riding. Instead of helping the injured couple, the driver allegedly drove away even after the male victim looked straight at the driver and asked for help. Both victims were hospitalized and released but have been advised that recovery from their injuries may take as long as six weeks.

Tractor-trailer crash in Florida sends 4 people to hospital

Commercial trucks can carry heavy loads, and in Florida, like elsewhere in the country, these can range from farm products to building materials to livestock. Trucking companies and their drivers not only must ensure that their loads are delivered on schedule but also that they travel over roads and highways safely.

Whether or not safety was on anyone's mind just before one recent accident is not known, but a tractor-trailer accident on Interstate 75 about 30 miles northeast of Tampa injured four people. According to the Florida Highway Patrol, the incident involved a sports utility vehicle and a tractor hauling a trailer carrying four horses. A tire blowout on the tractor-trailer unit caused the vehicle to jackknife into the path of the SUV, which rolled over several times. All four people who were injured -- the driver of the tractor-trailer, age 36, his 6-year-old son, the 56-year-old SUV driver and her 10-year-old passenger -- were taken to St. Joseph's Hospital in Tampa with serious injuries. The horses were not injured. The FHP is continuing to investigate the accident.

Couple recuperates from injuries after motorcycle accident

A motorcycle ride around Florida can be a liberating experience and can get a driver to a desired destination faster and with less gasoline expenses. A drawback to riding a motorcycle is the limited safety protection for the rider and passenger in the event of a crash. When motorists exercise extra caution, a motorcycle accident can be avoided but a recent accident is exemplar of the injurious effects when a motorcycle meets car on the road.

The recent accident involved a Florida couple that was out enjoying a ride through Brandon when a white SUV suddenly pulled out in front of the motorcycle causing the motorcyclist to crash into the vehicle. The female passenger was thrown from the bike and hit the street hard enough to lose consciousness. The bike driver sustained a broken leg and was unable to move and looked to the driver for help. The female driver of the SUV made eye contact with the injured rider and then left the accident scene in a hurry, ignoring pleas for assistance.

Florida family stresses need for cruise ship lifeguards

Most states, including Florida, either recommend or require that owners of pools that routinely entertain young children have lifeguards on duty to prevent drownings. Unfortunately, this responsibility does not seem to extend to the cruise industry, which has reported the drownings or near drownings of four children in the past year.

A family of central Florida suffered the worst possible tragedy when their 6-year-old son drowned in a crowded midship pool on the last leg of their five-day Carnival Victory cruise in the autumn of 2013. Despite repeated attempts by other passengers and staff members to use CPR to revive the boy, he was pronounced dead. The family not only lost their son but also saw their wrongful death lawsuit face trouble because the cruise ship industry is protected by a section of federal law known as the Death on the High Seas Act. The law does not provide compensation for pain and suffering, only financial losses in a wrongful death lawsuit. One legal professional describes this law as archaic.

Tractor-trailer accident leaves one injured, another critical

Besides being massive, trucks are also not known for their maneuverability. For this reason, truck drivers should have the necessary skills and experience before getting behind the wheel. Automobile drivers should also be extra cautious, as a single miscalculation can cause a truck accident that can result in serious injuries and even the loss of life.

A recent tractor-trailer accident, north of Tampa, Florida, clearly demonstrates the extensive damage a truck crash can cause. According to the Florida Highway Patrol, the incident happened around 2:15 p.m. at West New York Avenue. A school bus carrying 16 people, 14 of whom were students, was stopped to unload passengers. An eastbound sedan also stopped while the bus was unloading passengers. However, a tractor-trailer traveling behind the sedan failed to stop and ended up rear-ending the car.

Interstate motorcycle accident leaves two injured, driver charged

During a motorcycle crash, riders and their passengers usually suffer the most severe consequences. They can incur devastating injuries, including injuries to the spinal cord or brain, or even multiple broken bones. For this reason, Florida riders are advised to take extra precautions to prevent accidents. However, other motorists should also exercise the same level of safety. If they don't they can be held liable if they cause a motorcycle accident.

Recently, a driver was charged for his involvement in a motorcycle accident. The 26-year-old man, who resides in Boca Raton, was said to be the one behind the wheel in a sedan that sideswiped a motorcycle on Interstate 95. A witness reportedly said that the man's car veered out of its lane and knocked the rider and the passenger from the motorcycle. The rider and the passenger sustained road rash, but the latter also suffered broken bones.

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