Fatal Shooting Results in Wrongful Death Lawsuit Settlement February 14, 2010.

Let’s take a look at a case we heard about where there was a $1.5 million settlement for the young daughter of an unarmed man shot to death by a transit officer. This case didn’t make it to court, as transit officials agreed to settle out of court. It took one very long year for the fiancée of the deceased, who is raising their 5-year-old daughter, to get the award which is still to be approved by a judge.

The facts of the case involve a transit officer and several young adult males, who were pulled off a train onto a transit platform, for fighting. According to the defendant, the transit officer, his intention was to use a stun gun on the deceased as he lay face down on the platform. Instead of using the stun gun, the officer pulled his handgun and shot the man.

The whole incident was caught on videotape by a number of eyewitnesses and went viral as a video on the Internet. The death caused a great deal of public outrage and numerous protests. The video was used for evidence in a preliminary hearing. In light of the video, mediation was attempted, but only one of two plaintiffs, the fiancée, was offered a settlement. The deceased’s mother has not settled and it is expected that her case will make its way to court.

The fiancée’s settlement will amount to an annual allowance, something most commonly referred to as a structured settlement, and once the youngster turns 18, and she will have access to more money. The payout, with interest over a 20 year period is estimated to be between $4 million and $5 million. It was a tough case, as it is difficult to actually calculate how much is lost financially due to the death of the father. Obviously the attorney representing the fiancée realized the goal was to secure the child’s financial future.

The whole point of wrongful death cases is something that a great many people don’t understand. They are not about revenge. They are about financial compensation for the loss of a beloved member of the family who provided income, companionship and other invaluable services as a member of that family unit. Wrongful death cases are about making sure those who suffered such a devastating loss are able to go forward with their lives, knowing they have the finances to carry on.

Cases like this one may happen to anyone. Every day someone dies due to the negligence of another. Every day someone contemplates the merits of filing a wrongful death suit. It takes guts and courage to go forward with something like this after such a horrendous loss. Negligence that takes another’s life is negligence that needs to face the call to justice for the victim’s family.