Parents File Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against Child’s School
Those who lose loved ones as a result of another person’s reckless or negligent conduct are often able to collect some form of compensation from the at-fault party to cover the decedent’s medical bills and funeral expenses. In many wrongful death cases, linking the defendant to the conduct that caused the accident and subsequent death is relatively straightforward, although this is not always the case, especially when it comes to deaths caused by suicide. The question then becomes whether someone else’s action (or inaction) was a substantial factor in the decedent’s suicide. These kinds of cases are both tragic and extremely complex, so if you recently lost a loved one to suicide, but believe that someone else may have contributed to his or her state of mind, it is critical to consult with a wrongful death attorney who can explain your options.
Allegations of Negligence
Florida courts may soon have to further grapple with this issue, as a wrongful death lawsuit was recently filed against a school and one of its teachers by the parents of a teenager who tragically took his life in 2015. According to the complaint, the decedent’s parents allege that both the teacher and the school are partly to blame for their son’s death, pointing to the fact that soon after the suicide, one of the teen’s teachers was convicted of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Specifically, the charges involved allowing the decedent to drive her car, while also supplying both he and another teen in the back seat with alcohol. The teacher was later sentenced to 30 days in jail and two years of probation, but is now being investigated for allegations of sexual battery against the decedent.
According to the decedent’s parents, their son suffered mental anguish and ultimately death due to the sexual battery he suffered at the hands of his teacher. They also assert that the school board was negligent for failing to protect students from sexual harassment by employees. Eventually, the court will be tasked with determining whether the decedent’s suicide was a reasonably foreseeable result of the defendant’s actions.
Prior Case Law
Similar cases involving third party liability for another’s suicide have been successful in Florida. In one case, a school board was found liable for the suicide of a 13-year-old student who had tried to commit suicide on two separate occasions while on school grounds a few days prior to his death. In its opinion, the court stated that because the school was made aware of the incident, but did nothing to put the child in protective custody, notify his family, or provide counseling, it had violated its duty to supervise students and so could be held liable for the teen’s death.
Call Today to Schedule a Free Case Evaluation with a Dedicated Attorney
Wrongful death cases are not only emotional, but often particularly complex, especially in cases involving suicide. If you have questions about filing a wrongful death suit, please contact Boone & Davis at 954-566-9919 to discuss your concerns with an experienced Fort Lauderdale wrongful death lawyer.