The essence of a wrongful death claim is that the events leading to the death of a loved one were avoidable in the absence of a negligent or other wrongful act on the part of someone else. This is clearly evident from news accounts surrounding the filing of a wrongful death lawsuit against the city of Hartford in connection with the suffocation death of a firefighter in 2014.
The death occurred during firefighting operations in a burning home. The deceased firefighter had apparently become stuck in the home when his leg became caught on a piece of furniture; his air tank evidently became depleted during the time that it took his fellow firefighters on the scene to realize that something was wrong and to look for him. Unrelated to the wrongful death lawsuit, the Connecticut Division of Occupational Safety and Health has cited the fire department for serious violations in connection with the death, including the failure on the part of the department to make sure that firefighter air tanks are tested every five years.
As is common in civil litigation, the plaintiffs have named multiple parties as defendants to their lawsuit. These include the chief and deputy chief of the fire department and the firefighter who was paired with the deceased during the fatal incident.
Any wrongful death lawsuit will require investigation of all the facts surrounding the death to identify its exact cause as well as whether negligence played a part in any of those facts. This investigation can also take into account additional information such as observed safety violations, with an eye toward making sure that all plausible defendants are identified and named in the lawsuit. Experienced personal injury attorneys will know what questions to ask and sources of information to check to ensure in advance that the plaintiff’s case for settlement or litigation is as strong as possible.
Source: New Haven register, “Family of Connecticut firefighter who died on job sues Hartford,” Nov. 13, 2015