Florida Supreme Court to Hear Decade-Old Case

The Florida Supreme Court will hear a case that has been moving through lower courts for a decade. The case involves a well-known railroad and the death of one of its employees after he suffered a heart attack while on the job. Following his death, his wife filed a lawsuit against the rail line accusing them of negligence.

The issue in this case surrounds the decision by the trial court to dismiss a jury’s verdict that would have allowed the worker’s wife to collect from the company for their negligence. At a trial where all the evidence was presented, the jury returned a verdict against the railroad company for part of the damages incurred.

What Happened in This Case

In 2006, the victim in this case was working as a conductor for a well known train company. His job took him to a rural area in Florida far away from hospitals, emergency responders, or anyone else who could help with a critical health problem. While on the job, the man had to get down from the train and manually switch a track. While working to switch the track, the man suffered a heart attack, and his coworker tried to get a hold of paramedics but could not. Because of railroad regulations, the two did not have cell phones and could not give an accurate location for responders.

Sadly, the responders got to the man too late and he died of cardiac arrest. Following his death, his surviving wife filed a suit against the train company for failing to maintain a safe workplace, which led to the death of her husband. Her case was based on the fact that her husband's coworkers should have been trained in emergency medicine like CPR and supplied with electronic heart defibrillators. This argument was based on the fact that train company employees are often in rural or desolate areas that make it difficult or impossible for paramedics to come to the rescue during an emergency.

At trial, the jury agreed with the wife. They awarded her a verdict that put 45% of the responsibility for the man’s death on the train company. But the trial court judge overturned the verdict and ruled that it was wrong. The case was appealed, and the court of appeals agreed with the trial court. They ruled that the trial court judge was justified in overturning a verdict because the company could not be legally obligated to provide emergency response help to its employees.

Now the Florida Supreme Court is tasked with setting the legal standard for whether a company in this, or similar, situations can be obligated to to provide training and basic emergency help for things like cardiac arrests. Setting such a precedent will have lasting ramifications for businesses across the state, and hopefully make them a safer place to go to work.

Panama City Area Accident and Injury Attorney

Whether related to work, car accident, or other type, The Pittman Firm is your law firm of choice to help you resolve your case. If you or someone you know and love has been injured, contact us so we can go over your case with you and help you with your legal options.

See related blog posts: Florida Court Dismisses Costa Concordia Case; Florida Supreme Court Will Hear PIP Case Over Personal Injuries.

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