In an unorthodox twist to the typical car accident fatality case, an Ohio man is suing his wife’s former employer, claiming that they are responsible for causing the single vehicle accident that killed her.
The lawsuit, Jasper et. al v. Jewish Hospital et. al, details the hospital’s procedures of regularly requiring the woman, and other nurses, to work in excess of their regularly scheduled hours. Additionally, because the woman had special certifications, she was regularly called in during her supposed off time to conduct trainings, or to work when the hospital was understaffed, which was reportedly often.
According to the complaint, on March 16, 2013, “Ms. Jasper was killed when her vehicle suddenly departed from the road, ramped an embankment, became airborne, and crashed into a tree while driving home from her shift at the Hospital.” The attorney representing the woman’s husband, children, and estate, said in a statement that they believe she many have fallen asleep just before her car left the road.
The filing further states that during the woman’s final shift, her unit had been understaffed, and she told her co-workers that she was “really stressed” and “hadn’t eaten” during her work period. The hospital had a history of chronically understaffed units, and had reportedly been on notice of the risks regarding these unsafe staffing levels. The lawsuit further claims that the hospital regularly required staff to work through resting and meal periods, in order to accommodate increased levels of patient care, which attributed to further exhaustion in staff.
The suit seeks compensation for lost wages, loss of consortium, pain and suffering, and punitive damages.
What is particularly interesting about this case, is that it essentially alleges all of the same sort of claims that individuals would make in car accident cases, except that instead of suing the other driver (as in a typical case), the claims are made against the woman’s employer. The types of relief sought and legal arguments made are similar to those that could be made in Maryland, had the incident occurred here.
A successful negligence claim requires a showing of two elements: first that the defendant was in some way negligent (legal standard of blameworthiness); and secondly that this negligence was the proximate (direct) cause of the injury or loss. In a car accident, the proximate cause is typically straightforward–the defendant’s car crashed into the plaintiff’s car. Here, however, the plaintiff may have a more difficult time establishing that the employer’s actions were the proximate cause of his wife’s death. The complaint states that the employer was the proximate cause, because it deliberately overworked and exhausted her, and that it was “foreseeable that automobile crashes would occur without the proper measures to prevent them.” A jury trial may be the final determination regarding fault.
If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a car accident in Maryland, contact the experienced car accident attorneys at Lebowitz & Mzhen Personal Injury Lawyers immediately. Our law firm has extensive experience in advocating aggressively on behalf of individuals and families who have suffered due to personal injury or wrongful death as a result of a car accident. Additionally, as a full service personal injury law firm, we have the expertise to represent you in any sort of personal injury lawsuit. If you believe that your car accident was caused by someone else’s negligence, please contact us today by calling 1-800-654-1949, or through our website, in order to schedule your free initial consultation.
More Blog Posts:
Man Attempting to Flee Maryland Traffic Stop Killed After Being Ejected From Car, Maryland Car Accident Attorney Blog, published November 12, 2013
Speeding Accident in Hyattsville Kills Two, Maryland Car Accident Attorney Blog, published November 5, 2013