Blame; it’s something a lot of people want to put on someone when something bad happens. Someone has to be responsible; it couldn’t have been just an accident. When considering wrongful death lawsuits, where does the proverbial buck stop? Who is responsible for what?
Let’s start with something we all hear about every day, 9-1-1 calls. We all know that 9-1-1 dispatchers are trained to assist those in need of emergency help. 9-1-1 dispatchers are trained in giving life-saving instructions over the phone. Consider this, you are in a public place and the companion you are with suddenly falls to the floor, unconscious. A store employee is talking to 9-1-1 and comes over to try and help. He isn’t medically trained. As it turns out, your companion chocked on that hot dog he had been eating. He had no pulse and wasn’t breathing. The paramedics got a pulse back and breathing, but your friend died several days later in the hospital due to a brain injury from lack of oxygen. Fingers are immediately pointed at the store employee for not checking for a pulse or confirming breathing. The store is sued for not having medically trained employees that know what to do in an emergency. Fair or not?
Here is another example. A restaurant that features an outside café is a very popular place in town. You and your family are finally seated at a table near some beautiful flowers. As dinner arrives, your son, who is allergic to bees, is stung by a bee that was on one of the flowers. Not being able to administer his medicine in time, he dies. The restaurant is blamed for not having a screened in section for those with allergies and also for attracting bees with the flowers they have used for decorations. Fair or not?
Is someone who brings peanut butter to school responsible if a classmate has an allergic reaction to it? Is a restaurant responsible to list every ingredient they have in the building in case of product sensitivity? Blaming others instead of being responsible for ourselves is becoming all too common.
One thing to remember if you are faced with coming to grips with the death of someone close to you, don’t blame someone unless you know they have acted with negligence and malice. If you’re allergic to something, stay away from it if possible and carry necessary medications to counteract the attack. If you are concerned that others are not medically trained at the places you visit, become medically trained yourself. Be proactive and only seek a wrongful death award when it is warranted.