Florida Appeals Court Finds Hotel Did Not Owe Victim a Duty of Care in Recent Wrongful Death Case

In light of COVID-19, many families have been heading out to explore the great outdoors for nature getaways and safer vacations that still adhere to social distancing guidelines. However, no one expects to get into a Florida accident while on a trip, especially one that has devastating consequences.

In a recent state appellate decision, a plaintiff filed a wrongful death claim on behalf of the decedent against a Florida lodge and resort after an accident caused the individual’s death. Evidently, the defendant lodge offered a complimentary golf cart service to take guests around its property. However, the golf cart was prohibited from traveling on public roads beyond the lodge’s property, but could cross the main highway flanking the lodge grounds.

On the night of the accident, the decedent got into a golf cart and asked a bellman from the lodge to take him to a local store located on the other side of the highway. Consistent with lodge policy, the bellman drove the decedent through the lodge grounds and stopped to drop the decedent off. When the decedent exited the golf cart and attempted to cross the highway on foot, he was struck by a vehicle. Following the man’s death, the plaintiff argued that the defendant lodge undertook a duty to reasonably and safely transport the decedent and that they failed to warn him of potential dangers of the highway when he was dropped off. Following the trial, the lower court ruled in favor of the defendant and the plaintiff appealed.

On appeal, the court ruled that the decedent’s death was not caused by the lodge’s breach of any duty of care it owed to the decedent. Because the bellman followed lodge protocols and the decedent voluntarily attempted to cross the highway, the court stated that the lodge did not create a foreseeable zone of risk by dropping the decedent off. Since there was no foreseeable zone of risk, the lodge also did not owe the decedent any duty of care in regard to the potential dangers of crossing the highway.

The lodge, the court argued, safely transported the decedent in the golf cart. It did not undertake the responsibility to transport the decedent beyond the golf cart’s allowable limits. Once the decedent voluntarily left the golf cart, the lodge owed no further duty to him.

In Florida, wrongful death cases can often be challenging to navigate. This is why potential plaintiffs are advised to contact an experienced personal injury attorney who can navigate these claims with ease. Every individual who brings a potential claim should feel confident in their representation and the lawyer’s ability to advocate on their behalf, especially when dealing with complicated and nuanced arguments and laws.

Do You Have a Potential Florida Wrongful Death Claim?

If you or someone you love has recently been involved in an accident that could result in a Florida wrongful death case, contact the attorneys at Friedman, Rodman, & Frank. Our team of South Florida attorneys have years of experience working with clients and can evaluate your legal issues with ease. Call us toll-free at 877-448-8585 or contact us online to set up a free consultation today.

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