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Florida family can move forward with wrongful death claim

When a loved one's death could have been prevented, family and friends are searching for answers. Was someone negligent in preventing the accident from occurring? If so, can that individual be held accountable? Is there any way to stop a similar accident from happening to other people in the future?

The family of a young man from Florida was likely looking for answers when they filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city of Boca Raton. His death occurred in 2007 but only just recently did an appeals court give the green light on the wrongful death claim.

The family is suing in an attempt to hold the city accountable for the young man's death. He had been taken into custody by Boca Raton police for drunk driving. But police did not keep him at the station even though he was clearly intoxicated. He was charged and then let go soon after police had brought him in.

The details are sparse, but it appears that once he was released from custody the young man began walking. He was crossing some train tracks a mile from the police station when he was struck by a passing train. He did not survive.

The young man's family believes that if police had not released him he may still be alive. His blood-alcohol level was more than two times the legal limit at the time of his death, meaning that when police released him he was still under the influence of alcohol. The family alleges that given his condition, police were putting him in serious risk by letting him go.

The lower court had denied the family's claim. However on appeal, the District Court of Appeal ruled that the lawsuit should move forward giving the family an opportunity to get some answers.

Source: Orlando Sun-Sentinel online, "Appeals court allows wrongful death suit against Boca Raton," Rebekah Monson, 21 July 2011

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