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Theme park liability for wrongful deaths in Florida

Florida is home to some of the most popular theme parks in the world, and the highlights of many of these theme parks are roller coasters and other rides. However, these rides can be dangerous, and while rare, it is not unknown for a person to die while on a roller coaster. When this happens, it may be possible to hold the theme park liable for the victim's death through a wrongful death lawsuit.

Such claims can be based on several legal theories. One is negligent operation. Lawsuits based on this theory allege that the theme park failed to exercise the applicable standard of care for operating the ride. This may be particularly applicable when it is a child who dies. Another theory a wrongful death lawsuit against a theme park can be based on is design or product defect. This may be applicable if the ride itself was designed or manufactured in a manner that is unsafe.

Cruise ships must do more to stop people from falling overboard

Cruise ships leave Florida ports on a regular basis, full of passengers expecting to have a good time. However, tragic cruise ship accidents can occur, leading to fatalities. For example, from 2000 to 2018, 284 individuals on cruise ships have fallen overboard. This amounts to 1.5 individuals on average falling overboard every month. The cruise ship industry and other groups state that such incidents occur when the victims are being irresponsible, for example, when they are intoxicated or careless. However, others claim this is a pressing problem in the industry that is being ignored.

Ships must have railings that are at least 39 inches high. According to the Cruise Lines International Association, this makes it so that people only fall overboard if they are acting recklessly and or purposely jump overboard. The CLIA claims that there are zero known incidents of responsible cruise ship passengers falling over the ship's railings. However, one academic expert states that over the past 18 years, 325 individuals on cruise ships and large ferries have fallen overboard despite the vessels having the requisite railings in place.

What abbreviations are prone to lead to medication errors?

It may seem that as more hospitals and medical centers in Florida move towards electronic systems for prescribing medications, that sloppy handwriting on the part of physicians is no longer an issue. However, whether a prescription is sent electronically to pharmacy or a physician handwrites a prescription, medication errors can still occur. Part of the problem is that certain abbreviations used in prescriptions can be confused with other abbreviations, and, thus, they should not be used.

Sometimes the abbreviation itself can be misinterpreted. For example, the abbreviation "BT" is intended to mean "bedtime." However, it could be mistaken as "BID," which means twice daily. Thus, a patient who is to take a medication once at bedtime could end up taking that medication two times more often than prescribed.

Bill would loosen restrictions on driverless vehicles in Florida

Autonomous vehicles may seem like something out of a science fiction novel, but they are increasingly being tested across the nation, including right here in Florida. However, one Florida representative wants to loosen the restrictions on driverless vehicles. A proposal by a Florida representative would eliminate the requirement that autonomous vehicles have a licensed human operator riding in them at all times. This means that driverless cars in Florida could be run entirely by computer software programs.

According to the representative behind the bill, autonomous vehicles can lead to fewer car accidents. He based this conclusion on a National Highway Traffic Administration report that stated that almost 95 percent of serious motor vehicle accidents were linked to human choices. Moreover, he believes allowing companies to use autonomous vehicles for business purposes rather than just testing could be good for the state's economy.

'Move Over Month' aims to protect first responders in Florida

States and federal organizations take steps to reduce accidents. This past January was "Move Over Month" in Florida, an initiative that highlighted the state's move over law. Under this law, when a motorist is on a multi-lane road and there is a stopped police car, emergency vehicle, utility worker, tow truck or sanitation worker on the side of the road, if it is safe to do so, the motorist should move one lane over. This is so the motorist can keep a safe distance from these responders so they can perform their duties. If it is a two-lane road or moving over is for some other reason impossible, motorists should travel a minimum of 20 miles per hour below the posted speed limit when passing these vehicles.

According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, over 200 motor vehicle accidents took place in 2018 that were caused when motorists did not follow the move over law. One worker in the tow truck industry stated that distracted driving is an issue on Florida roads. He says motorists are paying more attention to their phones than the roads, which puts the lives of others who are simply trying to help others in jeopardy.

Can a Florida insurer be held liable for acting in bad faith?

When you own a home or commercial piece of property, it is important to prepare for the worst, such as wind damage or water damage from hurricanes, losses incurred in a fire or damage caused by sinkholes. Therefore, most property owners carry home or commercial property insurance policies. It may seem obvious that if a property owner files a legitimate home or commercial property insurance claim in accordance with the terms of their policy, that claim will be honored, and the property owner will be appropriately reimbursed. However, some insurers in Florida will try to find ways out of having to pay policyholders what they are due.

An insurance policy is essentially a contract between the insurer and the policyholder. Thus, the insurer is bound to act in good faith. If the insurer improperly investigates the policyholder's claim, unreasonably denies a legitimate claim without an explanation or fails to pay claims within the required time period, these could be deemed acts of bad faith.

Man injured on water ride at a Florida theme park

Florida is famous for its many theme parks. Tourists from all over the world spend their vacations at these theme parks, as do residents of the state. The rides at these theme parks can be thrilling. However, as numerous incidents show, they can also be dangerous.

According to recent reports, a man visiting Disney Typhoon Lagoon got his arm stuck in a conveyor belt on one of the park's water rides. As a result, he broke his arm and injured his back and neck. He was flown to an area medical center, and his injuries are reportedly not life-threatening. It was released that this same water ride, another man fell out of a raft and hit his head in November of 2018.

Seeking resolution through a wrongful death claim

Most people in Florida can relate to the loss of a loved one in some way. Sometimes we lose a loved one to an unpreventable illness or simply old age. The grief that follows such a loss is profound. However, imagine if your loved one's death could have been prevented. That grief is fraught not just with sorrow but also with anger and pain.

For example, say a loved one died in a car crash caused by a drunk driver. That driver should never have been on the road, but their poor decisions caused your loved one to die unnecessarily. Or, say your loved one died because their physician made a medical mistake. We trust medical professionals to fulfill their duty of care when treating patients, so when a physician makes a negligent mistake, the resulting death is even more tragic.

Cruise ship to return to Florida port after norovirus outbreak

It is not unusual to hear reports about distressing gastrointestinal illnesses breaking out on cruise ships. Some of these illnesses are due to food poisoning, caused by unsanitary conditions on the ship or due to a lack of safe food handling. Floridians may have recently heard of one breakout of the gastrointestinal illness, norovirus, on a cruise ship that has affected hundreds of passengers.

An outbreak of norovirus has occurred on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship, sickening almost 500 individuals. The ship is set to return to Port Canaveral. Symptoms of norovirus include vomiting and diarrhea. The virus is contagious, and it can be spread when individuals with the virus have direct contact with others, when a person touches something contaminated with the virus or if a person eats or drinks something prepared or handled by an infected individual.

What are medication errors versus adverse drug events?

When a person in Florida is ill or injured, they put their faith in the expertise of the physician treating them. Unfortunately, sometimes medication errors occur. A medication error is a mistake that happens anywhere along the path of when a medication is prescribed by a physician to when the person being prescribed the drug receives it. For example, a physician may not check for allergies, may administer the wrong drug or the pharmacist could fail to read the doctor's handwriting properly.

Medication errors can lead to adverse drug events or ADEs. An ADE is the harm a person suffers due to taking a drug. It is important to note that not all ADEs are caused by medication errors. For example, unpreventable ADEs, such as "side effects," can occur that are not the result of a medication error.