The loss of a loved one is always painful for those left behind. What can make things even more difficult is when such a loss could have been avoided. A wrongful death claim may arise in a variety of circumstances, from a car accident, to a criminal act or medical malpractice. However, the recent death of a freshman at Fresno State arose under a different set of circumstances.
While drinking and fraternity parties are often synonymous, such activity usually does not have deadly consequences. However, it was recently confirmed that an 18-year-old student died of alcohol poisoning at a frat party. It was reported that the student suffered brain swelling due to acute alcohol consumption. His blood-alcohol level was 0.36. Sadly, the teen was only a few weeks into his first semester at Fresno State.
The teen's untimely death leaves many unanswered questions as to the events leading up to the fatal accident. In this particular case, the family may be entitled file a claim and recover damages from the parties responsible for the teen's death. The right to bring a wrongful death claim belongs to the deceased's immediate family members. In order to be successful, one must show the death was caused by another's negligence and the surviving family members must suffer a monetary injury as a result of the loss. A probate estate must also be opened, with a personal representative appointed to oversee the estate.
The senseless death of a loved one is tragic. This is especially true where such a loss could have been prevented. No amount of money can replace a lost loved one, but recovery of damages is possible for the surviving family members in many cases.
Source: CBS San Francisco, "Coroner confirms Fresno State freshman died of alcohol poisoning at frat party," Oct. 2, 2012