Wrongful Death: Injured

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Wrongful Death

Wrongful Death claims are usually brought by the estate of a person who was killed due to fault of another. The most common plaintiffs are the surviving spouse or the children of the deceased. The wrongful death laws differ from state to state. Generally, the elements are the same and include a death of a human being which was caused either by negligence or the intent to harm. The surviving family members usually need to be suffering a monetary injury as a result of the death. A wrongful death lawsuit often ties in with other personal injury lawsuits including vehicle accidents or medical malpractice.


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Parents with teething babies have sought a myriad of remedies to soothe their children's pain and discomfort (and their own ears as well, no doubt). One remedy which many found effective was the use of dissolving homeopathic tablets and gels that claimed to ease pain and reduce irritability associated with teething.

But last fall, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned that the tablets and gels could pose a health risk to children and recommended that parents stop using them. As many as 10 deaths had been linked to homeopathic teething tablets, so could lawsuits follow?

Ikea, the company known for affordable, flat-pack furniture that buyers must assemble themselves, has agreed to settle three wrongful death cases filed against it for $50 million. The three cases, filed in the state court in Pennsylvania, claim that the furniture maker was negligent in not manufacturing their dressers to meet industry standards, which resulted in the death of three toddlers (in three separate incidents) who were crushed when the dressers toppled over onto them.

Ikea has settled a few other lawsuits with similar claims over the last decade, and reports indicate that this may have been a known issue dating all the way back to 1989. All in all, there have been seven reported deaths due to unstable Ikea furniture.

On December 2, 2016, tragedy struck at a warehouse that had been illegally converted into a mixed-use residential and workspace for artists. During a dance party event that was taking place on the second floor of what is being described as a labyrinth-esque warehouse space, a fire broke out on the first floor. Due to the way the interior structure had been built, every person who attended the event was trapped on the second floor as the fire consumed the building, eventually causing the roof to collapse, and killing 36 people.

The aftermath of the fire, apart from the intense grief of those who lost loved ones and friends, is shaping up to be a legal quagmire. The first two wrongful death lawsuits were recently filed, and each names a rather long list of defendants, including the building’s owners, as well as the individual who held the lease on the building, and the owners of the neighboring buildings that were supplying power and other resources to the warehouse. Additionally, the individual who was promoting the event was named. Several local government entities are expected to be named in the lawsuit as well, once the administrative requirements of the California Tort Claims Act are satisfied.

Jake Anderson was celebrating his first year as a freshman at the University of Minnesota until the early hours of a December morning in 2013. Six or seven hours later, first responders found Anderson in a hypothermic state face down, slumped over a rail along the Mississippi River near Minneapolis.

Anderson had "no pulse and no breathing and was frozen, indicating obvious death" according to a report from the fire officials that found him, but his parents don't think rescuers did enough to revive their son. Now the Andersons are suing first responders, including police, fire, and medical center personnel, claiming they are liable for wrongful death.

Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that affects the lining of a person’s internal organs, such as the lungs, stomach, and heart. There is no cure for the disease, and most cases are directly related to exposure to asbestos.

According the American Cancer Society, mesothelioma is a rare disease with approximately three thousand cases diagnosed each year. Individuals who become sick, injured, or die, as a result of asbestos exposure, may have a legal claim depending on how the exposure occurred. It can be extraordinarily difficult to assess the legal claim as mesothelioma may develop decades after the asbestos exposure.

Recently, a Connecticut judge dismissed the lawsuit brought by the families of the victims of the Sandy Hook massacre against the gun manufacturer of the weapon used for the killings. Pursuant to a 2005 act signed into law by George W. Bush, the Protection of Lawful Commerce of Arms Act (PLCAA), the case was dismissed as the judge ruled the gun manufacturer could not be held liable.

Under the PLCAA, a gun manufacturer or dealer cannot be held liable for how a gun is used if the gun was sold legally. The families of the victims based their lawsuit on a theory of negligent entrustment, which is one of the few exceptions to the PLCAA.

Not every lawsuit has merit. And if you think you've been sued for no reason, you might be tempted to just ignore it. After all, why dignify false accusations with a response? While that might be a compelling perspective when faced with a verbal argument, the legal system doesn't quite work that way. And ignoring a lawsuit, rather than pointing out to a court why the lawsuit is frivolous, could mean the person suing you automatically wins.

Look no further than Hillary Clinton, who was declared in default by a court clerk for apparently ignoring a wrongful death lawsuit regarding her involvement (or lack thereof) in the attack on American facilities in Benghazi, Libya in 2012.

All surgeries have their risks, and when it comes to elective surgeries, the risk versus reward calculation can get far murkier. So murky, in fact, that plastic surgeons may need to inquire about a patient's mental state before assenting to a procedure.

At least that's what one Chicago lawsuit claims, after a patient underwent several cosmetic surgeries and died due to a pulmonary embolism. The woman's estate is now suing her doctors, claiming they failed to provide proper medical care by not giving her a psychological assessment prior to the procedures. It's a strange case, but may shed some light on whether you can sue for wrongful death after a botched cosmetic surgery.

Accidents happen, but sometimes they happen because of someone's negligence. And when someone's negligence leads to another person's death, family and loved ones of the deceased person may file what are known as wrongful death lawsuits.

Wrongful death lawsuits can be complicated, and there are several limiting factors when it comes to filing them. So here are five important questions (and answers) regarding wrongful death claims from our archives:

Scarlett Lewis, Neil Heslin, and Leonard Pozner, the parents of Jesse Lewis and Noah Pozner, offered to settle their lawsuit against the town of Newtown over the children's deaths in a horrific school shooting in 2012. The parents had sued the town, claiming Sandy Hook Elementary School's security plan was inadequate. Now the parents are offering to accept an $11 million settlement in return for dropping all of their legal claims against the city.

Newtown has yet to accept the settlement offer, but let's take a closer look at what it could mean.