Jury says Florida hotel shares some responsibility in fatal crash

When a wrongful death claim is filed against several parties, one of the duties of a jury is to assign a percentage of liability, if any, to each defendant. The amount of any award determined by the jury is then split among the defendants according to those percentages. For example, a jury recently decided that a Florida hotel was partially responsible for a fatal crash that occurred on March 18, 2012. The hotel’s liability was determined to be 15 percent; when translated into a dollar amount, the hotel’s portion of the $24 million award is approximately $3.6 million. The remaining 85 percent of the award was assessed against the driver.

A man and his wife, who was seven months pregnant at the time, were at the hotel here in Florida for a marriage conference. As the man’s wife sat in a cabana by the hotel pool, a vehicle careened over a sidewalk, jumped a curb and smashed into the cabana. The pregnant woman and her unborn child were both killed in the crash, which was caused by a drunk driver. The man only suffered minor injuries since he was a few feet away in a restroom when the accident happened.

The widower argued that the hotel knew that the location of the cabana put anyone inside it at risk. The cabana was situated near a sharp curve in the road, and no protective barrier was erected to protect hotel guests from being hit by vehicles. The hotel maintains that it does not have any responsibility for this tragedy and intends to appeal the jury’s verdict.

When a loved one is killed in a fatal crash due to the negligence of another, surviving family members have the right to file a wrongful death claim against the party or parties whose actions caused or contributed to the crash. In some cases, this includes more than just a driver. To prevail against any party, it will be necessary to establish negligence that is found to have caused or contributed to the fatal accident.

Source: sun-sentinel.com, “Jury awards $24 million to widower in fatal cabana crash“, Emily Miller, June 25, 2015

2015 Florida Justice Association Conference

#TeamPY recently went to Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort for the annual Florida Justice Association (FJA) conference. Our very own Larry Perry was a presenting speaker at the Young Lawyers seminar, a seminar geared at helping lawyers new to the practice of law excel. Mr. Perry gave a presentation on marketing and social media to the group.

Reports are also coming in of a confirmed Rock Lobster sighting at the conference. Our very own Eric Garmon “The Rock Lobster” Garmon was also in attendence at this years conference.

One of the highlights of the conference for #TeamPY was seeing Mr. Perry chosen to be among one of thirty board members to represent the FJA statewide. We are very proud of Mr. Perry and we know that he will be a great representative for the Panhandle and the state of Florida!

See more pictures like the one below on our Facebook Page. www.facebook.com/PerryYoungPA

Boys & Girls Clubs of Bay County celebrates 50 years of service!

Boys and girls clubs of Bay County celebrated 50 years of service to our community on June 16th, 2015. Many community members and leaders gathered to join in the celebration. The celebration was held at the 19th Street Boys and Girls club among the kids as they enjoyed the wonderful services the clubs provide.

Our very own Larry Perry and Eric Garmon were in attendance. Other attendees included Greg Brudnicki (Mayor of Panama City), Gail Oberst (Mayor of Panama City Beach), Mike Nichols (Panama City Commission Ward IV), Mike Nelson (Bay County Commission District 1), Bill Dozier (Bay County Commission District 3) and Guy Tunnell (Bay County Chairman and Commission District 4). Tunnell, Nelson, and Dozier presented an official proclamation memorializing the event.

The clubs currently provide after-school and summer enrichment to more than 750 local children in their four facilities, board member and former club member Arthur Cullen said. Of those children, 57 percent come from single-parent families, 55 percent are minorities, 77 percent are on free or reduced lunch plans and 60 percent are on scholarship. Last summer the clubs served 40,000 meals to their members, a program Cullen called “one of the greatest things” the clubs do. They also offer swimming lessons at the only local aquatics center for children.

From all of us here at #TeamPY, a heart-felt thank you goes out to everyone at The Boys and Girls Clubs of Bay County!

Criminal charges are not always filed in a fatal crash

Within eight days, two rear-end collisions have taken the lives of two 4-year-old boys. In the first fatal crash, the driver faces a myriad of criminal charges. In the second accident, Florida officials do not believe that criminal charges will be filed against the driver believed to be responsible. In either case, however, the victims and/or their families may file civil actions.

In the first accident, a 38-year-old man and his 4-year-old son were sitting at a red light when another vehicle plowed into the back of his car. Both father and son were killed. The 61-year-old driver of the other vehicle is suspected of driving under the influence and faces charges of DUI manslaughter (2 counts), vehicular homicide (2 counts) and DUI with property damages (1 count).

In the second accident, traffic was moving slowly on U.S. Highway 27. A vehicle occupied by a 41-year-old father, his 4-year-old son and 2-year-old daughter was crawling along with the other traffic when a box truck slammed into the back of it. The impact pushed the car into the pickup truck in front of it. The father and daughter survived the crash with injuries, but the man’s son died as emergency personnel on the scene attempted to save his life. Criminal charges against the 18-year-old driver of the box truck are said to be unlikely.

In both cases, surviving family members may file wrongful death claims against the drivers believed to be at fault, among other parties if appropriate. Surviving victims may file personal injury claims as well. The burden of proof in a Florida civil court is not as stringent as it is in criminal cases. Therefore, even if a driver’s actions in a fatal crash do not result in criminal charges, the victims and their families could still be awarded monetary damages in civil court after proving negligence and documenting financial losses.

Source: theledger.com, “Boy, 4, Killed in U.S. 27 Car Crash“, Tori Walker, June 6, 2015

Amy Grant, a Week After.

Well, we have had plenty of time to collect our thoughts and more importantly pictures! The event was such a wonderful time. #TeamPY was out in full force and we are glad that so many of you came out and enjoyed this great event.

Two superfans from #TeamPY attended the concert. The first was superfan Steve Dick and his daughter, Sarah Nicole, a blossoming young singer herself. The two attended Grant’s sound check and Grant even gave Sarah Nicole some tips and pointers!

Amy Grant & Sarah Nicole

The second superfan was April Thompson and her son, David. April is a life-long Grant fan and it was her son’s first ever concert. We were so happy that they were able to make it out with us!

If you have any additional pictures, send them our way!

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