Unfortunately, when someone is under the influence of drugs or large amounts of alcohol, their cognitive ability is impaired. This often leads to them making poor choices, which in turn can lead to police involvement. If an arrest takes place, law enforcement has a duty to ensure that the person is able to safely go through withdrawal from the chemicals that are in their bodies. If this does not happen, withdrawal can often be deadly, and you in turn may have grounds to file a wrongful death claim. Understanding what a wrongful death claim is, who may file one, and how to go about filing are the first steps to get started.
Why Is Drug Withdrawal Dangerous?
- Poor concentration
- Depression and more
Unfortunately, there are certain drugs, or the combination of certain drugs, in which the withdrawal symptoms can literally be deadly. Some of these drugs include:
- Opiates including
- Fentanyl and more
- Benzodiazepines (Benzos)
- Generic equivalents, street derivatives and more
Withdrawal from these drugs can produce symptoms that include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
- Heart palpitations
- Heart racing
- Muscle cramps, tremors, and more
Depending on the drug, a person may also experience grand mal seizures, strokes, heart attacks, delirium tremens (DTs), and hallucinations while they are attempting to withdraw from the drug or drugs in their system. When there is a combination of drugs in a person's system, the severity of these symptoms can multiply and become even more dangerous and can lead to death.
The best way to lessen the severity of these symptoms is to ensure that withdrawal takes place under medical supervision. Unfortunately, when a person is incarcerated this is not always the case.
When Is Drug Withdrawal A Wrongful Death Claim?
Anytime someone dies due to the fault of another person who has acted in a negligent manner, or with the intention of causing harm, the surviving friends or family can file a wrongful death claim. In the case of a law enforcement agency failing to provide medical attention for the person going through withdrawal, and the withdrawal resulted in the person's death, this would be grounds to file a claim. Of course it would then be up to the court to decide if the person, or in this case the law enforcement agency was responsible. You and your attorney must be able to show that the law enforcement agency owed the victim a duty to provide a certain level of care, such as medical care, and that this duty was breached.
Who Can File A Wrong Death Claim?
A person's family or estate normally are the ones who will file the wrongful death claim on behalf of any survivors who were damaged by the victim's death. The person or people filing the suit are often referred to as "real parties in interest." Although who the real parties in interest can be varies from state to state, they often include immediate family members such as spouses, life partners, children, parents, and any other financial dependents. Other family members such as brothers, sisters, and grandparents are allowed to bring suit in some states, but not in others. Some states will even allow business partners, or any other person who is impacted financially by the death, to bring suit even though they are not related.
What Can You Ask For In A Wrongful Death Claim?
When you file a wrongful death claim, you can be compensated for many things. Some of these include the following:
- Any pain and suffering experienced by the deceased prior to their death
- Any outstanding medical costs related to the injury and subsequent death
- Funeral and burial costs
- Loss of future income and any future inheritance
- Loss of companionship, guidance, love and consortium
- Value of services that were previously provided by the deceased and more
If you feel that you have a wrongful death case that has resulted from drug withdrawal while a person was in custody, consult a wrongful death attorney. They will be glad to review your case and advise you on how to proceed. Talk with an attorney or click here for more information.