There are many reasons that the loved ones of someone who has died might decide to file a wrongful death lawsuit. It is not uncommon for such a lawsuit to follow a fatal motor vehicle accident. In these cases the lawsuit is usually filed against another motorist whose negligent actions contributed in some way to the death. As a recent wrongful death lawsuit filed in Ohio illustrates, others may be sued in connection with a fatal accident as well.
The Ohio man filed the lawsuit after his wife died on her way home from work. As she drove something happened to cause her vehicle to leave the road and hit a tree. Prior to leaving for home the 38-year-old nurse told her coworkers that she had not had much to eat and was feeling “really stressed.” The lawsuit alleges that the woman was exhausted and possibly fell asleep while driving. At the time of the incident she had just completed a 12-hour shift.
According to the man, in the course of long shifts such as this one, due to staff shortages, his wife was often unable to take the breaks to which she was entitled. In addition, the understaffing of nurses that he characterized as “regular” often led the woman to work extra shifts. Even when she was not supposed to work, she often ended up there. This is because only a few employees had the qualifications necessary to operate dialysis machines used in her unit. He claims her employer was aware of the staffing issue but did nothing to address it. As a result of this the man named the hospital the woman worked at as a defendant.
While lawsuits such as this one are certainly not common, as nurse staffing continues to be an issue at hospitals throughout the nation it is easy to see how they could increase however.
Source: CNN, “Lawsuit: Ohio nurse was ‘worked to death’,” Dominique Debucquoy-Dodley, Nov. 13, 2013