Some of our readers have probably had the misfortune of knowing someone who has lost a family member under tragic circumstances. In some cases, fatal accidents like this are termed as just that — accidents. However, in some cases a negligent or reckless party may have caused the death. In that type of scenario, the surviving family members may be able to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit.
A wrongful death case was recently heard in the Mississippi Court of Appeal. The case involved the death of a 17-year-old boy who had flown to Costa Rica for a mission trip with other children and some adults from his church. The trip was apparently going well until one unfortunate incident. The reports regarding the case indicate that the boy and some other members of the group stopped at a beach location and were climbing some rocks. That was when a large wave slammed into a group of three of them, including the 17-year-old boy. All three were swept out into the water, and two of them were able to swim back to safety. The 17-year-old boy, however, could not be immediately located. It wasn’t until the next day that his body was found.
The wrongful death case was brought by the boy’s mother in 2011, two years after the boy’s death, when the boy’s mother sued the church. The mother’s argument appears to have been premised on a failure of supervision by the church members who were supposed to have been watching the kids in their care. The church had a victory in the case through summary judgment in 2014.
However, the Mississippi Court of Appeals recently reversed that decision, saying that the lower court should not have issued a summary judgment in favor of the church, as there are enough factual issues for the court to go in front of a jury. It doesn’t mean that the mother has won the case, but at least she will get her day in court regarding the death of her son.