Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Wrongful Death Claim in a Mysterious Death

Different speculations regarding the mysterious death of a New Jersey college student continue to grow as the family of the victim has filed wrongful death lawsuit against the school, the state and the operator of the school’s trash compactor.
The article, “Family of Student File Wrongful Death Lawsuit against College”, posted in March 6, 2008, reports about the disappearance of the 19-year old college student whose remains were later found in a landfill almost a month later. The young student was believed to have been killed in an accident caused by the trash compactor system.
According to the article, the victim’s parents later sued the college for its alleged failure to protect their son. To make things worse, the complaint also said that the school administration delayed the investigation into the disappearance and refuse assistance from state authorities.
Until now, authorities are still baffled at the circumstances surrounding the young man’s death. They are still trying to figure out how the victim died and ended up in the landfill.
But judging on the situation, the parents held the school responsible for their son’s death, as under the premise liability the school is highly accountable for the safety of a student who is within their care and protection during the period of schooling. The boy was last seen alive sleeping in the dorm’s room, a few days before the accident.
In regard to the liability of the state and the operator of the trash compactor system, authorities may look into possible negligence and improper maintenance of the machine as possible causes of the accident that led to the victim’s death.
If proven right, the relatives of the victim are entitled to recover damages based on their wrongful death claims.
Wrongful death laws recognize that certain people or victim’s relatives suffer their own economic and non-economic losses due to the wrongful death of persons close to them. Hence juries may award them compensation based on these losses.
As economic losses, they entitled to receive the following:
  • the financial support that the wrongful death victim would have contributed to the heir during either the life expectancy of the victim or the heir, whichever is shorter
  • the loss of benefits that the heir would have expected to receive from the victims
  • the reasonable value of the household services that the wrongful death victim would have provided to the heir
  • funeral and burial expenses
Non-economic losses include:
  • the loss of the victim's love, companionship, comfort, care, assistance, protection, affection, and society
  • the loss of the training and guidance of the victim, if applicable
  • the loss of the enjoyment of sexual relations, if applicable
No matter what happens to this case, may this accident serve as a lesson so that it may not happen again in the future.