Can you make multiple legal claims in a wrongful death lawsuit?

Can you make multiple legal claims in a wrongful death lawsuit?

We often write about common legal claims victims file when they have been injured or a loved one has been killed by the negligence of another person. Examples include premises liability, product liability, medical malpractice and more generally, wrongful death.

But what do you do if a loved one was killed by a combination of factors, meaning that more than one party may be liable? This is actually a common scenario, and your lawsuit can include multiple claims against multiple parties.

A recently filed wrongful death lawsuit is an example. Although it was filed in Pennsylvania, the same principle applies to cases here in California. In this lawsuit, a grieving mother alleges that her 3-month-old son was killed due to a dangerous product and the negligence of staff members at the daycare facility looking after the baby.

The allegedly dangerous product was a “Pack n’ Play” crib made by Graco. Cribs can be dangerous when manufactured in such a way as to increase the risk that babies can become trapped and suffocate. In this case, the napping 3-month-old fell into a “dangerous position” due to a 4-inch gap between the mattress pad and the side rails of the crib. He reportedly began to suffocate. Staff tried to administer CPR, but the improper manner in which it was allegedly conducted further injured the child rather than saving his life.

Graco has been named in the lawsuit for manufacturing a crib without adequate safety features. The company is also accused of failing to adequately investigate similar, previous accidents or taking steps to prevent such accidents from reoccurring.

The daycare center is accused of negligence on several fronts. First of all, the staff allegedly failed to adequately secure the crib’s mattress to its side rails, which likely contributed to the dangerous gap between the two. The staff is also accused of leaving the baby unattended for too long and for incorrectly administering CPR.

Cases like this are tragic. And because they involve the negligence of two or more parties, they are not always easy to predict or prevent. The reassuring news, however, is that the families of victims can pursue multiple claims against multiple parties in a single lawsuit.

Source: Courthouse News Service, “ 'Dangerous' Day Care Crib Leads to Lawsuit,” Gina Carrano, Nov. 17, 2014

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