Wrongful Death Cases – Legal Cases You Likely Know About
Once in a while, a high profile legal case hits the media, spreading awareness about a particular type of law and practice area. Do you know much about the area of Wrongful Death? You may think not, but it’s likely you know more than you think. Below are some of the most notorious wrongful death cases that have made headlines and familiarized the public with wrongful death cases:
O.J. Simpson – Twenty years ago, this famous football star was acquitted of all criminal charges regarding the murder of Nicole Simpson, his ex-wife, and Ron Goldman. The family of deceased Nicole Simpson was obviously unhappy with the results of the criminal trial and filed a civil wrongful death suit in which they claimed that OJ Simpson had unlawfully taken the life of their daughter and caused them damages. In the civil suit the jury sided with the victims and awarded over $30 million in damages to the family. Winning a big judgment is one thing, but collecting on it can be an entirely different challenge. In the OJ case the family had a symbolic victory with their large damage award but it has remained largely unsatisfied.
Phil Hartman – It was tragic when this beloved SNL comedian was shot to death (with his own revolver) by his wife, Brynn Hartman. Shortly after, killing her husband, she turned the gun on herself and committed suicide. She had suffered from depression and was taking the antidepressant drug, Zoloft. A wrongful death suit was filed against Zoloft’s manufacturer, Pfizer, as well as Brynn’s psychiatrist. Pfizer ended up settling the suit for a confidential sum.
Ford Pinto – One of the most famous cases in unsafe product design was back in the 1970s when Ford’s popular sedan was found to be the cause of many wrongful deaths due to the placement of a rear mounted gas tank. Even small rear end fender benders were causing horrific explosions due to this unsafe design – killing drivers and passengers. Numerous wrongful death claims were filed related to the design of the Ford Pinto.
Michael Jackson – Five years ago, Michael’s father, Joe Jackson, filed a wrongful death suit against his late son’s physician. Michael died after he had overdosed on an anesthetic, which his personal physician had prescribed to him to help him sleep. The family sued claiming it was negligent of the doctor to prescribe a dangerously strong anesthetic, which was not approved as a sleeping aid.
The loss of a loved one is a life-altering event. It is made even worse if the surviving family members feel that this death could have been prevented. Not only is the family left dealing with the emotional grief of such a loss but, if the deceased was a parent or provider, they may also be faced with a real and immediate financial crisis. Time is often of the essence as the key witness is often deceased before he can tell anyone what really happened and the only version of events we are left with is the Defendant’s. Due to the nature of these cases, time is critical and it is essential to get a quick jump on investigation before physical evidence is lost, witnesses disappear or documents are tampered with. If you feel that you have lost a love one due to the wrongful or negligent act of another person you need to contact an attorney with experience handling these complicated cases immediately.