Parents Sue After Both Children Killed By Driver While At Minigolf
The parents of two children who died playing minigolf have filed a wrongful death lawsuit. The details are tragic and the driver was not cited for the incident. According to the report, the driver suffered a seizure while on the road, lost control of his vehicle, and slammed into a miniature golf course where the plaintiff’s two children were playing.
Prosecutors said that there wasn’t enough evidence to charge the man with reckless driving. They stopped short of saying he was innocent, however. The issue for the driver is whether or not they had foreknowledge that a seizure could happen. If the driver had foreknowledge of the seizure, was on seizure medication, or reasonably believed he was safe to drive, then no prosecution would be warranted.
Who can you sue, exactly?
In most personal injury lawsuits, foreknowledge is a requirement for the negligence test. In this case, the driver told authorities that his doctor told him he was okay to drive. Prosecutors reviewed that allegation and likely did not find evidence of culpable negligence, which is a higher standard than civil negligence. The prosecutors likely told the family that they should pursue the attending physician that failed to properly diagnose the driver who later caused a fatal accident.
So, the parents have filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the doctor for failing to diagnose his patient properly.
Is this a medical malpractice lawsuit?
You really don’t see lawsuits like this filed against doctors unless they’re psychiatrists. There, overcrowded hospitals sometimes release patients who are still in crisis. The patient may go out and injure or kill someone else, and then the hospital gets blamed for wrongfully discharging the patient. In the event that the hospital failed to properly care for the patient, allegations can be filed against the hospital.
This is a case to watch because the allegations are unusual. In this case, it’s not a patient suing a doctor, but rather a third party suing a doctor who failed to help a patient who later caused a fatal accident. To prove the case, the plaintiffs will have to establish that a reasonable doctor in the same position would have noted the patient’s seizure disorder, recommended a useful treatment, or recommended that the patient not drive. They will also have to establish that the doctor never considered the correct diagnosis or excluded the diagnosis on the basis of erroneous reasoning. It’s a very complex lawsuit to try and win.
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