When a loved one's suicide is related to his or her job, there is a possibility that you can hold his or her employer responsible for the loss. Whether or not you can depends on the circumstances that led to the suicide and the role of the employer in the situation. If you are thinking of suing your loved one's employer, here is what you need to know.
Is It Wrongful Death?
To sue your loved one's former employer for his or her suicide, you have to claim wrongful death. In essence, you have to prove that the employer's actions were negligent or intentional enough to lead to the suicide. You also have to prove that the employer had a duty to avoid the harm that your loved one suffered.
For instance, if the deceased was being constantly harassed at work by a supervisor and the situation caused him or her enough stress to push him or her towards suicide, you could argue the employer was negligent if he or she was aware of the situation and did not take adequate action.
What Should You Consider Before Suing an Employer?
Suing an employer for a suicide is challenging. The employer has a number of available defenses that could possible be used. For instance, the employer could argue that he or she is not responsible because there were other stressors in your loved one's life that could have led to the suicide.
Therefore, it is important that you carefully consider the conditions that led up to the suicide. For instance, was the employer aware that your loved one was suicidal? If so, did the employer take steps to prevent actions that could put undue stress on your loved one while he or she was working?
What Damages Are Possible?
If you do decide to sue your loved one's employer, there are a number of damages you could claim in your lawsuit. For starters, any medical bills that resulted from the incident could be included as damages. You can also include burial and related expenses.
In addition to these damages, you can sue for loss of consortium and the loss of financial support. Depending on the state in which you live, you could possibly ask for punitive damages as well.
Talk to a personal injury lawyer at a law firm such as Snyder & Wenner, P.C. about whether or not you can hold your loved one's employer responsible for his or her suicide by filing a lawsuit.