Fatal Accident and Survivor’s Right To Recover Damages

Date: January 12, 2012
Posted In: DLP Law
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Paul was only sixteen years old when he was killed in a tragic one car accident. Paul was a passenger at the time of the accident and had been living with his mother who was a single mom.

Paul was an only child and the apple of her eye. Paul\’s mother became an emotional wreck as a result of the loss of her son and suffered from severe depression which was almost incapacitating to her.

ISSUE: A lawsuit was commenced against the negligent driver and the issue arose as to whether or not Paul\’s mother had a right to sue for her own extreme mental distress even though she was not a witness nor was she involved in the auto accident in any way.

ANSWER: No. Paul\’s mother was not injured directly in the accident nor did she witness it. As the executor of Paul\’s estate, Paul\’s mother will be able to recover any funeral benefits or medical bills but will not have a right to sue for her own extreme mental distress.

Disclaimer: The above article is for instructive purposes only and each case is fact sensitive. Consultation with an attorney should be obtained instead of reliance upon the legal issues discussed in this column.

Tom Cummings
Thomas P. Cummings has been a Partner with Dougherty Leventhal & Price, LLP since 1996 and has been with the firm since 1991. He focuses his practice on workers’ compensation, Social Security Disability and personal injury cases.