A fifteen year old picked up Samantha on his ATV to ride around an orchard in Palm Beach County. While crossing a highway, the ATV was struck by a pickup truck, severely injuring the three minors aboard. They were flown to St. Mary’s and underwent emergency surgeries.
Samantha ended up having six open surgical procedures on her leg by the time of the trial. Her doctors had forecast several more leg surgeries for her in the future. Adding to the damages was the fact that Samantha became addicted to pain medications following all of the surgeries and suffered all sorts of disciplinary problems in her school.
Suit was filed against the father of the boy who drove the ATV on theories of vicarious liability and negligent entrustment of a dangerous instrumentality. Parents can be vicariously liable for the negligent and intentional acts of their children, and, in this case, the father of the ATV operator signed his acknowledgement and consent upon purchasing the ATV that it was not to be operated by persons under the age of sixteen. But the father bought two ATV’s, one for his fifteen year old son and one for his fourteen year old son – each having had unfettered access to use the ATV’s at any time. Dennis Phillips and William Pincus tried the case in West Palm Beach Circuit Court to a $1 million verdict and a final judgment after post verdict motions of $1.06 million.
Dennis Phillips is a lawyer with Coffey Trial Law handling plaintiffs’ personal injury and homeowner insurance claims. The firm handles claims all over the state of Florida and is also available to co-counsel. Contact Coffey Trial Law at (954) 900-2939 for the Pre-Lit Division and Homeowner Insurance claims, or (954) 541-3194 for Litigation.