Articles Posted in Catastrophic Injury

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A bizarre and tragic incident left an expectant mother and her unborn baby dead at a Fort Lauderdale hotel’s poolside cabana.

The 27-year-old woman visiting from Massachusetts had just entered the cabana when a car plowed into it, killing her instantly. The car’s driver reportedly lost control, hit a curb, crossed a sidewalk and continued 20 feet into the cabana. The driver sustained non-life-threatening injuries and was reported to be in stable condition.

An investigation is underway and charges against the driver are pending toxicology tests. A Breathalyzer and blood test were not performed immediately following the incident because the driver was injured. A myriad of legal issues could come into play, from driver negligence causing catastrophic injuries to premises liability and resort tort litigation.

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Resort torts continue in the cruise industry…

Not a Vacation CELEBRATION

The FBI is investigating a passenger reported missing from a Celebration Cruise Line ship, The Sun Sentinel reported. She was last seen in the ship’s casino around 1 a.m. and was reported missing by her boyfriend at 8 a.m. The ship was in international waters at the time, after leaving the Grand Bahamas Island port at 6 p.m. the night before. The card-swiping system that records passengers’ whereabouts indicated that she was last registered as being on board.

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Cruise ship at port.jpgThe Costa Concordia shipwreck tragedy in the Mediterranean has sparked a review of safety standards on cruise ships. The Transportation and Infrastructure Committee announced in a press release that it will conduct a hearing in February to review cruise ship safety including operating standards and crew training requirements.

Committee Chairman John L. Mica (R-FL) said in the release that “The Costa Concordia tragedy is a wakeup call for the United States and international maritime organizations to carefully review and make certain we have in place all appropriate standards to ensure passengers’ safety on cruise ships.” He said that “The Committee will review the events of this specific incident, current safety measures and training requirements set by law and international maritime transportation agreements to ensure this mode of transportation remains as safe as possible.”

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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that driving while distracted contributes to one in every four car crashes. By some estimates, in as many as half of all crashes (there were six million last year), cell phone use was involved.

A slight departure from Resort Torts, my campaign against DWD -“Driving While Distracted” – is an issue I am passionate about.

It’s encouraging that a jury has awarded the family of a woman killed in a car crash – believed to be caused by a texting driver – $8.8 million. But much is left to be done to keep peoples’ eyes on the road and not distracted with the myriad electronic devices they carry and those that are even built into the car.

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Final Tally: 3 dead, 2 hospitalized with injuries in the Key West Super Boat World Championships.

Boating accidents are not uncommon in Florida, where tourists and residents alike enjoy nearly 1,200 miles of coastline, 7,700 lakes larger than 10 acres, and more than 11,000 miles of rivers, streams and waterways. Unfortunately, residents and visitors alike are also killed and injured as a result of water skiing, jet skiing, pleasure boating, and many other kinds of boating activities.

Last Wednesday, the opening day of the Key West Super Boat World Championships began with a bad omen for the multi-day event. Two of the racers, both visiting Florida from Missouri, were killed when their 46-foot Skater with four 1,200-horsepower engines crashed in Key West Harbor after the boat barrel-rolled and landed upside down, reported the Miami Herald. Despite being pulled onto a rescue boat by paramedics who jumped out of helicopters in the rescue attempt, the two men were pronounced dead at the Lower Keys Medical Center that afternoon.

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Disney - Where Dreams Come True.jpgFederal investigators concluded after 2.5 years that the Disney monorail collision that killed a 21-year-old resort employee was caused in part by a lack of adequate safety protocols.

In a 14-page report, the National Transportation Safety Board cited employee errors as the primary causes of the accident, but added that “Walt Disney World Resort’s lack of standard operating procedures leading to an unsafe practice when reversing trains” was also a factor in the accident.

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A deadly combination of factors in a Philadelphia waterway has left two tourists dead, a father of two young children jailed for a year, and several lawsuits still pending.

On the day of the incident, the operator of a 33-foot “Ride the Ducks” sightseeing boat anchored in a shipping channel of the Delaware River after detecting smoke and suspecting an onboard fire, cited CNN International. There were 35 passengers and two crew members on board.

Video footage shown on The Today Show revealed the shocking footage of a towed 250-foot sludge barge running over and submerging the tourist boat in a matter of seconds. Amazingly, only two tourists died in the accident.

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Resort Torts logo FINAL.jpgMiami Beach’s popular Clevelander Hotel has allegedly been providing on-duty police officers with alcohol in concealed containers.

One such officer on the midnight ATV patrol struck and critically injured the mother of a 1-year-old, causing severe brain injuries. From her bed at Jackson Memorial Hospital, she is suing the officer and the hotel, and reportedly will also sue the City of Miami Beach, according to the Miami Herald.

The lawsuit alleges that the officer frequented the Clevelander and that its employees knew he drank excessively. The offer’s blood alcohol level measure .088 five hours after the incident. The legal limit is .08.

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Parasailing tragedy.jpgDavid Sierazki, age 31, is the latest victim of the STILL unregulated parasailing industry. He died last week in the second parasailing fatality in the Tampa Bay area in a year. The engine died in the boat that was pulling him, and he plunged from 800 feet up into the water. When pulled out, he was unconscious and unresponsive, and was later pronounced dead after unsuccessful CPR attempts.

“I can’t believe we haven’t gotten smarter as an industry,” said Mark McCulloh, chairman of the Parasail Safety County, who was quoted in a Tampa Tribune article on the incident.

McCulloh said the industry needs strict rules for parasailing, including maximum wind speed allowances, height restrictions, equipment inspection and tow lines.

Florida legislators have failed to address this continuing problem and need to pass the Amber May Law to bring some regulation to this rogue industry.

As reported by The Today Show, fifteen-year-old Amber May White died while parasailing from head trauma along with internal injuries, sustained when she crashed into a building when the parasail on which she was riding snapped, while vacationing with her family in Pompano Beach, Florida. Amber May’s sister Crystal also suffered head injuries in this tragedy. John Elliott Leighton represented the family in the lawsuit against the parasail operators and the resort where Amber May was killed. Mr. Leighton has spearheaded legislative efforts to bring some regulation to this rogue industry. His efforts in Tallahassee have resulted in a bill which he and the family hope to make law this year.
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A tour-bus driver employed by a Florida travel company struck and killed a pedestrian in Midtown Manhattan. The driver registered .083 in a subsequent breath alcohol test, reported the New York Post – more than twice the legal limit of .04 for commercial drivers.

The West Palm Beach man struck a 29-year-old Philadelphian man while driving an L&L Travel tour bus bus with 40 sightseeing tourists on board. Police reported finding an open 1.75-liter bottle of Smirnoff in the luggage compartment, and a silver travel mug nearly emptied of vodka, said the Post.

He is charged with vehicular manslaughter and driving while intoxicated. The victim was reportedly dragged behind the bus for nearly half a block and pronounced dead at Bellvue Hospital. A wrongful death lawsuit could potentially follow.