No one ever expects a family member to be killed. If it happens to you, you may not know what to do. If the victim was a student and was killed while on campus, you may be wondering if you can file a wrongful death lawsuit against the school. This is a complicated question without a simple answer. This simple guide will provide you with more information about who you can hold liable.
The short answer to this question is that there is no guarantee whether or not the school can be held liable. There have been cases where the college was found to be financially responsible for a wrongful death, and there have been cases where the college was not held liable. You should know that the majority of these cases go to trial, which means a court will make the ultimate call.
So what needs to be the case for the school to be liable? To answer this question, you need to understand how negligence is legally defined. A wrongful death lawsuit filed against the school will revolve around proving that the school was negligent. Legal negligence has four components:
For the school, or anyone for that matter, to be negligent, they must first be shown to have a duty, which is simply a societal expectation to act a certain way. For example, every citizen has a duty not to drive while drunk. Every college has a duty to provide a safe environment for students to live and learn.
Next, it must be shown that the school breached that duty. This may be a failure to provide adequate security, a failure to light areas properly at night, or something else entirely. There must be something the school did — or failed to do — that caused the death or made it more likely.
Finally, the breach of duty must be the causation of some kind of damage. In a wrongful death case, the death of the individual is an undeniable type of damage, but it must be shown that it was caused by the school’s actions.
It is not a small feat to prove that the school was negligent and must be held liable for the death of a student. You should speak with a wrongful death lawyer, like a wrongful death lawyer in Washington, DC, to learn how good a chance you actually have at winning a case. If possible, it may be a better idea to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the individual who caused the death instead.
Thanks to The Lawfirm of Frederick J. Brynn, P.C. for their insight into wrongful death claims on a college campus.