Dealing with the loss of the loved one often means fighting for answers. When a fatal incident occurs, family members will seek to understand how it occurred and if anyone was responsible for their death.
Recently, the City Treasurer of Philadelphia and her husband filed a lawsuit against the operator of a local Salvation Army thrift store and a demolition contractor for the death of their 24-year-old daughter. The wrongful death suit states that the daughter was killed as she shopped at the thrift store when a towering brick wall from an adjacent demolition tumbled upon the store.
Furthermore, it claims that the store was negligent in remaining open during the demolition and that the contractors were negligent in undertaking a demolition plan that allegedly posed a danger to the small area. There are also allegations that a contractor was on marijuana and painkillers as he worked at the demolition site, and was thus impaired.
Wrongful death lawsuits, whether they are brought in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, or elsewhere, are brought on behalf of the deceased by a representative, either an attorney or a family member. They are brought in cases where the defendant allegedly caused the decedent's death through negligence, which occurs when a duty of care that the defendant owes towards another person is breached, causing the decedent's death.
In this case, the negligence that is alleged is twofold claiming that the contractors approved a demolition plan that put the neighboring store and its customers in danger, and that the store remained open despite being aware of the danger. The lawsuit alleges that both parties were aware of the danger, or reasonably should have been aware of it, and that their disregard of the risk of injury or death caused the daughter's wrongful death.
Anyone with a family member or loved one lost due to the negligence of another is entitled to file a lawsuit against the defendant to recover restitution in the form of monetary damages. These damages give the family a measure of financial compensation for pain and suffering, lost wages, medical bills, and any other expenses incurred as a result of the incident.
Anyone affected by a wrongful death has the legal right to seek a just and fair restitution from those responsible. It is important to understand the process and their options. It is often a difficult time for loved ones, so it might be helpful to have the assistance of a qualified professional.
Source: New Jersey Herald, "Pa. official sues over daughter's collapse death," Mary Claire Dale, September 17, 2013.