Charlotte Personal Injury Attorney Matt Arnold answers the question: “Are the laws or rules applying to a wrongful death claim different from a personal injury not involving death?”
A recent case decided by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court was watched by many in anticipation of a ruling. The Court’s ruling could impact universities all around the country. A wrongful death suit against a university and some of its staff would determine the liability a university faces in the event of suicide by one of their students.
Charlotte Personal Injury Attorney Matthew R. Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “What exactly is a wrongful death claim?”
Joseph Chernach started playing in a Pop Warner football league in 1997, when he was eleven-years-old. By the time he stopped playing three years later, his brain had been so badly damaged by repetitive trauma that as a young man, he developed a form of dementia only normally seen in much older adults.
Chernach’s troubles began during his sophomore year at Central Michigan University. His mother, Debra Pyka, told the Daily Mail that Chernach’s behavior began to grow “increasingly bizarre.” Eventually, he stopped attending university classes and began living with his brother and some friends.
“He just could not stay in one place at once,” Pyka said. Chernach became moody, paranoid and distrustful even of close friends and family. On June 6, 2012, he committed suicide in his mother’s shed. An autopsy revealed that Chernach had suffered from a degenerative brain disease known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy and post-concussion syndrome.
Following Chernach’s death, Pyka brought a wrongful death lawsuit against the organizer of the youth football leagues where she claims her son sustained his brain injuries.