The loss of a family member is always difficult, especially when the death has occurred as a result of another's negligence. In some cases, loved ones of the deceased may be made whole by pursuing a wrongful death lawsuit. Recently, a family in New York has been faced with the challenge of grieving the loss of their son while pursuing a lawsuit.
The family members of a New York 15-year-old have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against a tour guide company. The teenager was on a hiking expedition in Hawaii with other teenagers when tour guides led the group to an area that is outside what is permitted by the state. The family claims that the tour guides were negligent in taking the group into the dangerous area despite warning signs.
The group stopped at a tidal pool when vicious waves swept through the area, causing some of the teenagers to grab onto whatever they could find so that they were not pulled into the ocean. The 15-year-old was last seen being swept away into the ocean and is presumed dead. The family also claims the tour guides failed to take any actions to help their son.
In bringing a wrongful death suit, plaintiffs, typically the immediate family members of the deceased, must prove that a death occurred as a result of an individual or company's negligence or intent to harm. A personal representative of the deceased's estate may also file a wrongful death lawsuit.
In a wrongful death case, a jury may determine the damages award. The court may adjust this award upwards and downwards. An award for damages could include compensation for medical bills, funeral expenses and loss of support. While the death of a loved one due to another's negligence is challenging, compensation for the unexpected expenses may assist in providing some sense of closure.
Source: Yahoo! News, "Family of NY teen swept to sea off Hawaii file federal wrongful death, negligence lawsuit," Jennifer Sinco Kelleher, AP, Aug. 22, 2012