According to authorities, a 71-year-old resident of Penfield, in upstate New York, was tragically killed outside her home when a garbage truck backed up into her. She was checking her mail at the mailbox around noon on the day of the incident when the garbage truck hit her. She died at the scene.
When a person is killed due to the negligent act of another, the negligent individual, entity or a company can be held liable for the death of the person in a wrongful death suit. In order for a party to prevail in such a suit, it must be proved that the person who caused the harm owed a legal duty of care, that duty of care was breached and failure to exercise care resulted in the accident or event which directly caused harm or resulted in the death of another person.
In the case above, on the public streets, the driver of the garbage truck has a legal duty to drive carefully and exercise a reasonable amount of care when on the road. If the driver of the garbage truck is found negligent, the driver or the garbage company that employs the driver may be held liable for the wrongful death of the woman. Her family may be entitled to damages such as funeral and burial expenses, loss of consortium and more.
The death of a loved one due to a tragic accident is never easy. Families may struggle to come to terms with the loss and no amount of compensation may be enough. Nevertheless, bringing a wrongful death suit against the negligent party may provide a sense of justice for the family and help prevent similar incidents from happening in the future to another family.
Source: Wall Street Journal, “Western NY woman hit, killed by garbage truck,” Sept. 17, 2012