The Wrongful Death of Ron Singleton
When Ron Singleton was arrested in July of 2014, he was high on PCP, and he fought with the police officers who approached him. To keep him under control, they placed him face down in the street in a plastic body wrap, a makeshift straitjacket.
Both EMTs and FDNY paramedics requested that the officers remove him from the wrap and turn him right side up so that he could be evaluated, but the police officers refused.
Unfortunately, Singleton went into cardiac arrest and died a little later in the back of an ambulance.
The NY medical examiner’s office ruled that this was a homicide caused by “physical restraint by police during excited delirium”. Additionally, Ron suffered from heart disease and obesity, which were also factors.
Ron’s mother sued the city last year, and the lawsuit was finally settled this September for $1.25 million.
In general, when police officers have a suspect in their custody, they are responsible for that person’s care and wellbeing. They must care for their immediate medical needs, and also continue to monitor the person’s condition.
If they fail to do so and it results in a loved one’s death, this may be considered police misconduct, and you may be able to file a wrongful death suit.
What Is Wrongful Death?
A wrongful death suit can award family members compensation for damages, such as:
- cost of the funeral and burial
- healthcare related to the final injury or illness
- lost wages and benefits
- value of support and services the deceased person provided to family, including their surviving children
- lost inheritance of surviving children
- pain and suffering of the deceased
In order to establish a claim for wrongful death, you must be able to prove:
- There was a death.
- The defendant acted negligently.
- The death was caused by the defendant’s negligent actions.
- There are survivors (spouse, children, or other beneficiaries and dependents) who suffered financial damaged as a result.
How New York Wrongful Death Cases Work
It is important to note that in New York a wrongful death claim must be filed within two years of the person’s death by the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate. You must start the process of probating the deceased’s estate, so a personal representative is appointed.
Unfortunately, this statute of limitations is not “paused” if the personal representative of the deceased person is a child or is legally incapable of filing the claim. The child or incapable individual’s guardian must file the claim instead within that two-year time frame.
Of course, filing is just the beginning. There are a host of other complex issues that go into proving a wrongful death claim. It’s not exactly something that you want to have to manage on your own even in the best of times. When dealing with grief over the loss of a loved one, the problem only worsens.
That is why the smartest thing you can do is to reach out to a knowledgeable New York wrongful death attorney as soon as possible. He or she will be able to walk you through the entire process, starting with conducting a case review to determine whether or not you even have a case that is worth pursuing.