Five-year-old Vicente Cardenas’ death had all parents scared to let their kids out of sight. While attending a field trip arranged by a professional childcare facility, this young boy hit the pool and drowned within earshot of instructors and the facility staff.
While kids love to goof around in pools, according to the child’s parents, the childcare facility knew Vicente did not know how to swim. Moreover, despite lifeguards being on watch, Cardenas went into the pool where the depth was approximated 6 feet. Vicente’s drowning death raised a police investigation that went on for 2 months. However, upon completion, no one was held accountable.
Deaths resulting from incidents like those that the one mentioned above are often termed as wrongful deaths. What exactly is a wrongful death? If you have never heard of this term, there would be plenty of questions in your mind regarding what to do in the event of one. This is what we address in the rest of the article.
What is Wrongful Death?
A death is considered ‘wrongful’ when another party can be held accountable for it. Under common law jurisdictions, a wrongful death lawsuit can be filed by the relative of the deceased if the evidence, for instance in case of an accident, does not convince the people that the person passed away naturally.
In the case highlighted above, after the two month investigation was closed, Vicente’s parents remained unconvinced that a five year old could drown in the pool without lifeguards noticing him. In this case, the carelessness on the part of the public pool facility and the Wesley childcare center has come under scrutiny.
By law, a wrongful death lawsuit can be filed against a person or institution that is deemed responsible for the incident, in this case the lifeguards and teachers on duty who had to look after the children during the pool trip. One clause of the wrongful death statute, that has been designed to provide security and support for the victim’s family, states that a wrongful death lawsuit can be filed against a party regardless of whether the wrongful act was intentional or unintentional. Therefore, negligence is severely reprimanded in such a case. This clause makes for a very powerful argument for Vicente’s parents.
Outcome of a wrongful death lawsuit
If a wrongful death lawsuit is successful, it results in financial compensation to the family of the deceased. However, this is starkly different from a criminal charge. The main purpose behind this compensation is to create awareness and motivation among people for taking care of each other and being socially responsible citizens.
Even though the pain and trauma that Vicente and his family have gone through cannot be priced in a few hundred dollars, this incident needs to be taken to court to fulfill the purpose mentioned above. It will also reinforce the responsibility that school teachers and other caretakers have on their shoulders in regards to our young ones.