Almost exactly one year ago, a pedestrian bridge at Florida International University collapsed seriously injuring eight, crushing eight vehicles, and killing six people. The builder of the bridge, Magnum Construction Management LLC (MCM) now faces 18 lawsuits. Some of the lawsuits against MCM involve wrongful death cases from the families who lost loved ones from the bridge collapse.
What is Wrongful Death?
Wrongful death cases are usually associated with murder cases in the media. The most famous example being the families of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman who sued O.J. Simpson for causing their deaths. But a wrongful death lawsuit can arise anytime a person dies due to the wrongful act, negligence, default, or breach of contract or warranty of any person.
To put it another way, a normal personal injury lawsuit becomes a wrongful death suit if the injury involved is death. So for instance, if a driver is texting and driving and hits a pedestrian breaking their arm (but not killing the person), the case would be a standard auto negligence personal injury case and the damages pursued would be for the past and future medical costs to repair the arm, pain and suffering, and lost wages. However, in the above scenario, if the driver were to have killed the pedestrian, the case becomes a wrongful death suit and the damages are the surviving family members loss of support and services, future loss of support and services, loss of companionship, loss of parental companionship, mental pain and anguish, and medical and funeral expenses.
Types of Wrongful Death Cases
There are a few different categories of wrongful death cases. The O.J. Simpson case involved wrongful intentional acts. This type of wrongful death case involves a murder, a battery, or manslaughter. The wrongful death case would be a civil suit brought by the surviving family members that is separate from the criminal case brought by the state prosecutor’s office, for what could also qualify as criminal conduct.
The other types of wrongful death cases involve fatalities caused through another’s negligence. This can be anything from a slip and fall, to a car accident, to a toxic drug, or to a falling bridge, as long as the death resulted from the negligence of another party.
In the case of MCM, the bridge they designed used many novel features, including a new type of concrete and a new unique design. As builders of the bridge, MCM had a duty at all times to ensure that the bridge was safe for the people on the bridge, around the bridge, or beneath the bridge.
MCM was put on notice by a contractor working on the bridge that there were visible issues with the bridge. Pictures were taken shortly before the incident, showing large-scale cracks in the façade of the bridge. However, no actions were undertaken by MCM to protect bridge workers or the general public from this emergency issue. Shortly thereafter, as construction crews applied tension to a steel rod on the bridge, the entire bridge collapsed killing 5 civilians, and one bridge worker.
MCM has filed for bankruptcy and requested that its insurers pay for the damages related to the incident, which includes the wrongful death cases. The estimated cost to the insurance companies is about $54 million.
Abrams Justice handles wrongful death cases and works with the families of the deceased to seek justice and hold those responsible accountable. Nothing will bring back the loss of a loved one, but family members or children who have lost a mother or father deserve to be compensated for the devastating loss caused by another’s negligence. Call Abrams Justice today for a free consultation at (305) 709-0880. You are not alone.