The loss of a loved one is a tragedy under any circumstances. However, when their untimely death is the result of an individual’s or company’s neglect, it can be especially detrimental to the families who survive them.
Nearly three months after the horrific helicopter accident that killed the iconic Los Angeles Lakers player Kobe Bryant, his daughter and seven others, surviving family members of four other victims in the crash have filed two wrongful death suits.
The lawsuits allege that the helicopter company involved – Island Express Helicopter Inc. – and its owner Island Express Holding Corp. displayed negligent and careless behavior that played a significant role in the crash. As a result of the carelessness, the families claim they have suffered damages.
The lawsuits come just two months after Bryant’s widow filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the same helicopter company and the pilot involved. The accident occurred on the way to a basketball tournament when thick fog caused the helicopter to crash into a hillside.
Determining negligence in wrongful death
The lawsuits filed by Bryant and the victim’s families are similar in that they both blame the deaths of those involved on the actions of Island Express Helicopters. They claim that the company authorized the flight to the game despite knowing weather conditions were unsafe.
In a wrongful death lawsuit, a person, company or government entity can be held responsible for acting carelessly or failing to act as a reasonable person would in the same circumstances. In these cases, Bryant and the other families must prove that the helicopter crash was not an accident but the result of misconduct from the helicopter company.
In an early investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board, the report found no evidence of engine failure or malfunction. However, the agency has not yet released the final report determining the cause of the crash.
While no sum of money will ease the tragedy of this incident, a fair award for damages suffered may allow the families involved to get some closure and peace of mind. If a loved one passes away due to an accident caused by the negligence of another party, it’s essential to know you have legal rights that may hold them accountable.