Articles Posted in Wrongful Death

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Erick Santana & Michael CecereAccording to an October 12, 2016 CBS News article, the number of teenagers involved in deadly car crashes is rising for the first time in nearly a decade. In 2015, there was a 10-percent increase in teen driving deaths. “In fact, teenage drivers are more than one-and-a-half times more likely than adults to be involved in a deadly crash,” said personal injury attorney Erick Santana, a founding partner at Cecere Santana.

To help prevent fatal accidents involving teens, Santana and Cecere Santana co-founder Michael Cecere share the following three tips:

No. 1: Always wear your seat belt. “Of the teens who died in passenger vehicle crashes, approximately 55% were not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash,” said Cecere. “Research shows that seat belts reduce serious crash-related injuries and deaths by about half.”

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Earlier this month in Miami, two men lost their lives when they were involved in a fatal accident near the intersection of Northwest 12th Avenue and Northwest 54th Street. According to one local news source, the accident occurred at around 7:30 in the evening on a Monday, and it involved a bicyclist and a black Infiniti.

bike-1553527Evidently, the driver of the black Infiniti was traveling at a high rate of speed when he entered the intersection. As he did, he collided with a bicyclist. The bicyclist ended up underneath the Infiniti and was dragged for a full block until Northwest 54th Street, where the Infiniti then collided with a tree.

Upon the impact with the tree, the Infiniti exploded into a burst of flames. Witnesses to the accident told reporters that several people attempted to help the driver of the Infiniti out of the vehicle, but the flames were too intense. Emergency responders pronounced both the cyclist and the driver of the car dead upon their arrival. The crash remains under investigation.

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Earlier this month, a Tamarac man was arrested and charged with vehicular homicide for his role in a fatal accident that claimed the life of his passenger. According to one local news source, the district attorney’s recent decision to file charges was after an eight-month investigation.

speedway-1198194Evidently, the man was driving a black 2011 Hyundai Genesis Coupe with one passenger, a 21-year-old woman, when he lost control of the vehicle. Upon losing control, the car slid off the roadway and wrapped around a nearby utility pole. Both the driver and the passenger were trapped inside, where they remained until emergency responders were able to free them. After they were taken out of the vehicle, both were taken to the hospital. Sadly, the passenger was pronounced dead shortly after her arrival. The driver survived.

Police conducted a roadside sobriety check on the driver, who passed. However, police believed that there was more to the story and initiated an in-depth investigation as to the cause of the accident. As it turns out, evidence suggested that the vehicle was traveling 77 miles per hour in the moments preceding the accident. The speed limit on that stretch of road was 35 miles per hour.

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Prosecutors decided not to charge Lazaro “DJ Laz” Mendez, the host of a popular morning show on Miami’s Hits 97.3 radio station, with any crimes for his involvement in the May 2014 death of a 23-year-old man in the waters off Key Biscayne. According to an article from the Miami Herald, the victim was part of a group of partygoers who were trying to help free the boat that Mr. Mendez was controlling from a sandbar during a promotional beach party event. While the victim was pushing from behind the boat, Mr. Mendez allegedly engaged the engine, causing the man to get sucked into the propellers and killed.

boats-reflected-1-1075395-m Charges were initially being considered based on an allegation that Mr. Mendez had been drinking before the accident and may have been criminally reckless in contributing to the death of the victim. After performing an investigation, prosecutors released a statement last month that there was not sufficient evidence for them to conclude that Mr. Mendez had been drinking or was intoxicated when the accident occurred.

The Parties Have Previously Settled a Civil Lawsuit Filed in this Matter

Although Mr. Mendez is not being charged criminally for his role in the victim’s death, he has already settled a Florida wrongful death lawsuit that was filed by the victim’s family. Civil lawsuits require a lower burden of proof at trial for the plaintiff to be awarded damages, when compared to the burden that prosecutors must meet for a criminal conviction. Because of this difference between civil and criminal cases, it is relatively common for someone who is acquitted or not even charged with a crime to be held responsible for the same conduct through a civil action.

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Earlier this month near Key Biscayne, an accident between a car and two bicyclists claimed the life of one of the bicyclists and sent the other to the hospital with critical injuries. According to a local news report, the accident occurred in the early-morning hours, around 5:30, when the driver was returning from a nightclub.

colorful-cocktails-1411310-mEvidently, the driver was in the eastbound lanes of Crandon Boulevard when he looked down briefly to change the song on his iPhone. As he did so, he collided with the two bicyclists. Rather than immediately stopping and seeing if the victims needed assistance, the man continued driving back to his parents’ home in Key Biscayne.

Once there, he staged a robbery, smashing the rear windows of his Volkswagen with a set of golf clubs. However, he then immediately decided that he could not go through with the farce, and he called 911. The operator encouraged him to return to the scene, which he did. Once police arrived, they noticed that he had a strong odor of alcohol coming from his body, and that his eyes were bloodshot and his speech was slurred. He was arrested and charged with DUI and manslaughter.

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Earlier this week in a tragic accident that occurred in Melbourne, three women—all sisters—were killed when they were involved in a chain-reaction accident on northbound Interstate 95. According to one local news report, the three sisters were on their way home after a short gambling trip.

crashed-car-921217-mThe women were in a 2007 Hyundai Elantra driving behind a 2008 Infiniti when the Infiniti left the roadway and slammed into the median guardrail. After the car crashed into the guardrail, the women in the Hyundai collided with the Infiniti. After that, several other vehicles crashed into the wreckage. Altogether, four vehicles were involved in the chain-reaction accident.

All three sisters were pronounced dead at the scene of the accident. It is unclear at the present moment whether they were killed in the initial collision with the Infiniti or if they were killed as a result of one of the subsequent chain-reaction crashes. There was also one other passenger traveling with the woman. She was admitted to the hospital with critical injuries.

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