When negligence causes harm or accidental death, an individual or entity could be held liable for personal injury. Earlier this month, a Connecticut family announced that they filed a wrongful death claim after their son, a basketball player from West Haven, Connecticut died after a bar fight in Romania.
The family has filed a $210 million wrongful death claim naming several defendants, including the attacker, the hospital where he was treated and two doctors. The lawsuit also names the Romanian Basketball Federation, claiming that they failed to keep the player safe and warn of dangerous Romanian gangs and the "anti-American, anti-African American" sentiment held by Romanians.
The case raises issues about international liability, dram shop law, and the ability to recover compensation for a wrongful death that occurs outside of the United States. According to police and prosecution records, the player was in a bar in the southern Romanian city of Giurgia where he played for the basketball team. The team was celebrating a win when he playfully put his cap on a woman's head. Her boyfriend punched him in the face causing severe head injuries. The player fell to the ground and died after surgery at a hospital in Bucharest. The attacker was sentenced to 5 years in prison for the assault.
The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in New Haven, citing Connecticut wrongful death law as well as state and federal laws. While the case would be significantly less complicated if the assault had occurred at a bar on U.S. soil, the plaintiffs could be successful in recovering compensation for their personal and economic losses related to the assault and wrongful death.
Source: Greenwich Times, "Connecticut family sues over basketball player's death," Oct. 9, 2012