Becoming a wrongful death attorney was a conscious decision I made because of my desire to help those suffering at the hands of another’s negligence. I was attracted to what our judicial system stood for: accountability and justice. When a wrongful death occurs, however, this justice and accountability is extremely difficult to achieve with the regulations of our current system. If a wrongful death occurs, but there is not an immediate family member that was financially depend upon the victim- there is no case- accountability is non-existent and justice does not prevail.
In late July of 2009 a heat wave swept over Washington State with record breaking temperatures. On one of these days a Disabled man died in his sleep while under the intensive care of a group home in Tacoma. 55-year-old David Vernon was mentally disabled, mentally ill and deaf- the result of a birth defect. Vernon was unable to perform minimal tasks for himself such as meal preparation, doing laundry and even had to be reminded about his personal hygiene. Vernon also took medications for his mental illnesses, including the use of two medications that increase patient’s chances of hypothermia.
July 29th, Vernon retreated to his bedroom to go to sleep and six hours later a caregiver heard Vernon fall from bed and found him unconscious on the floor. His internal body temperature was a lethal 107 degrees. Not only did Vernon’s medications make him highly susceptible to hypothermia, he had very high levels of one of the medications in his system according to the autopsy. Also, poor ventilation in his bedroom where the window was only opened a crack and the fan in the bedroom was not running making the temperature in the room extremely hot as the medics noted.
Vernon’s brother searched for justice in the form of a wrongful death lawsuit, but with the current laws there are no beneficiaries because Vernon had no dependents, meaning justice is nearly impossible to achieve. The current wrongful death laws deny thousands of victim’s justice every year. Please click on the preceding link Ito learn more about Washington wrongful death.