The story of the death of a vulnerable young man is what draws our attention today. The details of what happened in this case offer a view into the possible challenges one can face when trying to assess whether circumstances that caused injury or a loved one's death are sufficient to support making a claim for compensation.
The death happened nearly a year ago and in a state outside the tri-state area. Only recently were criminal charges entered in the matter, and no conviction has been obtained. But upon reading about the case, certain questions regarding extent of possible liability come to mind.
The victim was a 19-year-old man with muscular dystrophy. His condition was such that he required 24-hour care. He died last August after having been taken to a party by his 24-year-old female caregiver. The man, who reportedly could not drink without help, allegedly consumed beer, chewing tobacco and several shots of vodka. Tests performed on the man's body showed he had a blood-alcohol level of .222 percent.
Earlier this month, prosecutors charged the female caregiver with neglect of a vulnerable adult. The complaint against her notes that the woman had shown up for her care shift late on the day in question. It also includes statements from witnesses who say she appeared drunk when she arrived at the party and largely ignored her charge, except to bring him drinks and tobacco. She also has a record for driving while intoxicated.
Legal observers would likely agree that the family of the victim has a potential case to seek compensation from the woman for medical negligence. At the same time, it appears the woman was an employee of a health care services company. That begs the question whether the employer properly trained the caregiver and provided adequate oversight of her work. If the answer to that is no, then the employer might bear liability as well.
Getting an answer to that question can be difficult, but consulting an experienced attorney can help.