A day of fun with her grandparents could have ended in tragedy for a 7-year-old girl in Sarasota County. According to an article in The Herald Tribune, Paul J. Berloni and Belinda Jean Berloni, grandparents of the young girl, towed the girl in a plastic car behind their SUV. Reports indicate that Paul, the driver of the SUV, was drunk while the girl was being towed. Our Palm Beach County personal injury lawyer appreciates that serious accidents can even happen in situations like this one where malicious intent is not present.
Like many loving grandparents, Paul and Jean were babysitting their granddaughter on a Sunday afternoon. As a way to entertain the child, Paul and Jean decided to tie a plastic Hot Wheels car to their SUV and pull the toy car while the child was sitting in it. The toy car was tied to a trailer hitch with two dog leashes. A deputy who had saw the SUV pulling the toy car estimated that the SUV was travelling at a speed of 5 to 10 mph.
What appears to be an innocent afternoon of fun is in actuality a dangerous situation when other factors are considered. Both Paul and Jean were intoxicated while the child was being towed by the SUV. Furthermore, an arrest report states that Paul admitted that his driver’s license had been revoked. As a result of the circumstances, Paul is being charged with driving under the influence, child endangerment and driving with a suspended license. The arrest report also states that Belinda admitted “that she understood that it was dangerous to drag a child behind the vehicle but stated they were just having fun and had been doing this all day.”
Although it appears that the grandparents in this particular case simply had the intent to have fun with their granddaughter, our Palm Beach person injury lawyer knows that accidents can occur in seemingly harmless situations where the wrongdoers do not have malicious intent to cause harm to others.
It is clear that Paul and Jean did not think that anything bad would happen to their granddaughter, and fortunately, no one was hurt in this particular case. However, the situation could have easily turned awry, causing serious harm to the child. As the arrest report states, the defendants “failed to provide adequate supervision for the child and put the child in a situation that could have easily resulted in great bodily harm, permanent disfigurement or even death.” Therefore, the fact that Paul and Jean did not intend for the child to be injured is irrelevant.
This seemingly unique situation is a good reminder of the fact that civil lawsuits based on negligence apply in all situations where people act unreasonably–even if they don’t necessarily understand the risks they are taking. Even if the wrongdoer who caused injury to an individual does not have malicious intent to cause such harm, the injured individual still has the right to receive compensation for his/her suffering. Our experienced Boynton Beach injury lawyer has helped individuals who have suffered injuries in all types of accidents. The Law Office of Eric H. Luckman offers free consultation for injured individuals in any kind of accident.
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(Photo courtesy of Hamed Saber)