A high school football team took its players to a summer camp for pre-season training. The boys were allowed to swim in the camp’s lake. The camp provided a lifeguard to oversee the swimmers.
The lifeguard was unfamiliar with the waterfront rules. The lifeguard allowed the boys to swim in an area of the lake that was restricted. When one of the boys struggled and called out for help, the lifeguard did not act immediately. Finally, the lifeguard jumped in but was too late to save the 15-year-old boy. His parents retained Mazow | McCullough, PC to investigate the camp, the lifeguard, and the high school for negligence and liability for their son’s wrongful death.
Issues in Pursuing Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Mazow | McCullough, PC was faced with tremendous challenges from the outset of this tragic incident. The summer camp was located outside of Massachusetts in a jurisdiction which has a “cap” on non-economic damages in the amount of $500,000. In other words, a jury’s award for the wrongful death of the young boy would be limited to $500,000 if there were no economic damages or pain and suffering.
Furthermore, because one of the defendants was a public high school, the amount recoverable from that defendant was also limited to $100,000 per plaintiff.
Mazow | McCullough, PC immediately understood that in order to get beyond the artificial “cap” of $500,000 in wrongful death cases, it would have to establish that the boy suffered for some period of time before he drowned. Mazow | McCullough, PC retained two world-renowned experts in field of drowning. One expert, an anesthesiologist, was retained to testify about the drowning process and the horrific suffering a person goes through. The second expert retained is the leading expert in the field of lifeguarding and Red Cross training. Mazow | McCullough, PC was also able to expand the amount available from the public high school by including two plaintiffs in the suit as opposed to just one.
Mazow | McCullough was able to reach a $1,200,000 settlement in this wrongful death lawsuit.