The Fourth District Court of Appeals, a South Florida appeals court, overturned a multi-million dollar verdict against a Fort Lauderdale hotel in a case where a drunk driver crashed into a pool cabana at the hotel, tragically killing a pregnant woman on vacation.
Following trial in Fort Lauderdale, the jury awarded the husband of the deceased woman $24 million in damages, of which the Fort Lauderdale hotel was liable for $3.6 million. The fatal car accident occurred when a drunk driver drove off of Sagamore Road where it curved, careening into the hotel pool cabana, causing the walls of the cabana to collapse.
The South Florida appeals court overturned the portion of the verdict holding the hotel liable, rejecting arguments that the hotel was in any way negligent in causing the tragic death. The court went on to state that the hotel owed no duty of care to invitees within its walls as it pertained to dangers emanating from the roadways outside of those walls. The court also said that even if the Fort Lauderdale hotel did owe such a duty to its guests and patrons, that the precautions it did take were sufficient to hold that no breach of this duty had occurred.
Essentially, the court felt that the unforeseeable nature of the incident, the speed of the vehicle upon impact with the cabana, and the driver’s level of intoxication were factors that were so far outside of the hotel’s control, that there was nothing more they could have done to prevent the incident.
Tragic events like these are all too common and while the Florida appeals court ultimately found that the Fort Lauderdale hotel was not liable in this specific incident, it is absolutely imperative that victims of these incidents or their family members retain the services of a skilled, experienced Fort Lauderdale wrongful death attorney, to ensure that all necessary steps are taken in a timely fashion to determine who may be liable for causing such tragedies.
For more information, please contact the Schulman Law Group at (954) 349-3300 or