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Wrongful Death on a Houseboat

In this case, a man died of a heart attack triggered by carbon monoxide poisoning. The family considered it a wrongful death.

This case involved a 62-year-old man who perished in June of 2008, as the result of a heart attack that was presumably triggered by carbon monoxide that pervaded the cabin of a rented houseboat.

“Apparently, other family members on the same boat were taken ill, but were able to recover,” recounted Stephen M. Ozcomert, who handles personal injury cases, accidents, and malpractice law in Atlanta, Georgia.

The suit is only now coming to court as it bounced around a bit in different jurisdictions. The main focus of this wrongful death lawsuit is that the carbon monoxide, given off by a generator on the houseboat, was trapped inside the cabin and sleeping areas of the craft. Evidently, the carbon monoxide detectors didn’t sound an alarm to alert those onboard that they were inhaling toxic levels of this odorless gas.

“The plaintiffs in this case accuse the defendants of negligence in not having properly working carbon monoxide detectors on the boat. There are a number of defendants in this lawsuit, and all of them have denied any liability in the death,” added Ozcomert.

“The concept of wrongful death is that the death itself, as well as injuring the person in question who subsequently died, also hurt/injured people who depended on that person. In most cases they depended on the deceased for emotional or financial support,” Ozcomert explained. The wrongful act could consist of someone being reckless or negligent and thus causing the death of someone. Just about every state has a wrongful death statute that allows relatives of the deceased to file a lawsuit.

Wrongful death lawsuits must be filed within a certain time frame or the opportunity to do so vanishes. “Each state also has a different time limit, so if a person isn’t certain what that limit is, it’s best to call a knowledgeable lawyer. Generally speaking the clock ticks from the time of the accident or from when the party became aware of or discovered the injury/death,” stated Stephen M. Ozcomert, who handles personal injury cases, accidents, and malpractice law in Atlanta, Georgia.

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