Family’s wrongful death appeal succeeds in Pennsylvania court

When there is a gruesome crime, such as a murder, it is easy to only see the case as a criminal one. Personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits, however, can also be effective following a violent incident – specifically when a party or parties could reasonably have done something to prevent a plaintiff’s loss.

Sources report today that the Pennsylvania Superior Court values a victim’s right to have the opportunity at seeking justice through a civil suit and fair trial. A mother who lost her son eight years ago in a violent robbery incident has been given a new chance at suing the university she believes could have protected her son if it hadn’t been for its negligence.

The victim in this case was a 21-year-old Widener University student at the time of his death. He was at a bar near the school’s campus late one night, when he ended up being fatally shot. The criminal justice system has dealt with the shooters involved, but the victim’s mother is going after the university.

She previously filed a wrongful death suit against the university but met a temporary wall when a judge granted a summary judgment out of her favor. She didn’t stop, however, and appealed that decision to the superior court, who has decided there is reason for the wrongful death case to go before a jury.

The mother and her attorney have targeted the university because they claim it failed to take reasonable measures to create a safe environment at the bar. Reportedly, there wasn’t much technology used in the area for security purposes. Another violent crime had taken place in the same area not long before the victim in this case was killed. The university allegedly failed to follow up on its requests that the bar owner improve safety at the location.

Sources do not report how much in damages the mother wants out of the wrongful death case. She could win all the money in the world, and it still wouldn’t replace the loss she has to live with.

Source “Pa. Superior Court orders trial in civil suit involving Widener slaying,” Timothy Logue, Aug. 31, 2011

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