What Constitues a Florida Wrongful Death Suit When Involving a Baby Left in a Hot Car?
A Florida family brought a wrongful death suit against Ewing’s Love and Hope Preschool daycare and daycare co-owner Darryl Ewing for child neglect regarding 4-month-old Brooklyn Blount, who was found unconscious in a hot vehicle and died shortly thereafter.
In May 2019, Brooklyn was inadvertently left in a daycare van, just outside the daycare facility, for five hours. When she was finally discovered, she was unconscious and firefighters were unable to revive her. Brooklyn died at Wolfson Children’s Hospital.
Brooklyn’s family did not seek jail time for Ewing but filed a wrongful death suit against both Ewing and Ewing’s Love and Hope Preschool daycare. Upon further investigation, authorities revealed that Ewing was responsible for maintaining a driver’s log of the names of the children placed on the van; Brooklyn’s name had not been entered into the log the day of her death. Furthermore, it was also revealed that the daycare was not even licensed to transport children at the time of Brooklyn’s death. The family is seeking over $75,000 in damages.
Ewing was sentenced to 3 years of house arrest, followed by 18 years of probation. He also has to spend the weekend in jail every year on the anniversary of Brooklyn’s death (May 22, 2019). The court also added the following stipulations to his sentence:
- He cannot become employed or involved in the operation of a day care or childcare business
- He cannot have any unsupervised contact with children under 10 years old
- For the duration of his 18-year probation, he must pay $500 a year to Safe Kids Worldwide or a similar organization which is geared towards preventing child injury or death
- He must fulfill 500 community service hours
- He must provide restitution in the amount of $100 to the victim’s family
- He must pay $518 in court costs and $150 for public defender fees
Florida’s Wrongful Death Statutes
Fla. Stat. § 768.19 establishes the right of action in wrongful death suits. It states that when the death of a person is caused by a wrongful act or negligence, and the event would have entitled the person injured to maintain an action and recover damages if death had not ensued, the person that would have been liable in damages shall be liable for damages notwithstanding the death of the person injured.
Fla. Stat. § 768.21 outlines the specific types of damages which can be awarded to family members who bring wrongful death suits. Some of these damages commonly include a monetary award to compensate for any or all of the following:
- The loss of the support and services the deceased person provided to surviving family members
- The loss of parental companionship
- Mental pain and anguish suffered by surviving family members
- Medical and funeral expenses paid by any surviving family members
Do You Have a Wrongful Death Claim? Schedule a Free Consultation with a Fort Lauderdale Attorney
If you have a potential wrongful death claim and would like to better understand your options, please contact the Fort Lauderdale wrongful death attorneys at The Rosen Injury Law, P.A. Firm. We are eager to assist you today.