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Sending a strong message with wrongful death claims

Losing a loved one can be among the most devastating experiences that a person can go through. It can be particularly difficult to deal with if that person's death was the result of negligence and could have been prevented. Readers of this blog should be aware that there are options for taking legal action against a party that acted recklessly or negligently by filing a wrongful death lawsuit.

Filing a legal claim can be an effective way to pursue damages and compensation for a tragic and untimely loss, but it can also shed some light on ugly or irresponsible actions that contributed to a person's death. For example, one woman lost her mentally disabled brother while he was in the care of a developmental facility and filed a wrongful death claim. Her lawsuit drew attention not only to the substandard care that allegedly caused her brother's death, but also to the reprehensible actions that followed.

According to the woman's lawsuit, her brother was being aggressively restrained by facility workers when he passed away. His sister says that this was not the first time her brother had been mistreated. In fact, she argues that the facility had a history of abusing her brother. Four months after the man passed away, a medical examiner confirmed that his death was a homicide.

It was a year after his death when the sister filed her wrongful death lawsuit, citing the abuse. As bad as the situation already was, state officials made it much worse by apparently sending the sister a bill for a whopping $11.67 million, which apparently was the amount of Medicaid-covered expenses for the man's treatment at the facility. The billing is being called retaliatory and outrageous.

That amount, says the sister, is quite unfair considering her brother did not receive adequate care in the facility and was, in fact, killed by workers who were supposed to be taking care of him. It will be interesting to see how this case plays out.

In the meantime, this case may serve as an important reminder that standing up to a negligent party can be very effective in publicizing dangerous, reckless and irresponsible behavior. Many people will do whatever they can to avoid taking responsibility for a fatality; but by taking legal action against these parties, a victim's family can seek the justice, accountability and compensation they deserve.

Source: The Root, "Disabled Man's Family Sent $11.67 Million Bill After He Died in State Care," Stephen A. Crockett Jr., May 30, 2014

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