Recently, I was asked to write a short article about wrongful death claims involving the elderly for the January issue of Trial Lawyer magazine.
While the article is directed to my fellow trial lawyers in the Washington State Association for Justice, there are a few thoughts I’d like to share with all of you.
About Wrongful Death:
“Wrongful death” is the legal term for an unnatural death, resulting from an injury or incident,
caused by the bad conduct of another person or a company.
The wrongful death of an elderly parent
Wrongful death claims are always complicated (particularly in Washington State). I’ve represented the families of elderly people who died in tragic, terrible ways.
In those cases, I have heard defense lawyers try to negate their own clients’ responsibility for an elderly person’s death by devaluing their life. Sometimes, they act like that an older retired person with some health problems had limited or no value to their family. I’ve heard things that would make your blood run cold, like:
“Statistically, your client was going to die soon, anyhow.”
I believe that the value of life does not decrease with age.
The surviving children I’ve represented viewed their relationships with their elderly parents as a gift. I, too, see those family connections as very powerful and rewarding.
As our parents age, we have the opportunity to provide them with the love, care and comfort that they gave us.
No one should have the right to take that time from us. If they do, we should be able to rely on our civil justice system to hold them fully accountable for that loss.
– Attorney Kevin Coluccio
They knew it couldn’t bring their daughter back.
But if the Melton family hadn’t filed a lawsuit against General Motors, thousands more might have died.