Mt. Pleasant Wrongful Death Law Suit

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Family of a former Wando High School football player filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Western Carolina University. Ja'Quayvin Smalls of Mount Pleasant, a defensive back and 2007 graduate of Wando, died after participating in his first voluntary workout at Western Carolina on July 8, 2009. The autopsy report, released in November 2009, said complications from an enlarged heart were the cause of death, and listed sickle cell trait and exertion as contributing factors. The lawsuit, filed in January in Jackson County, N.C., seeks "a sum in excess of $10,000" and alleges that "information about sickle cell trait and exertional sickling was available to all ... defendants, who chose to ignore it." Named as defendants from Western Carolina are athletic director Chip Smith, football coach Dennis Wagner, defensive coordinator Matt Pawlowski, head athletic trainer Steven Hornbarger, assistant athletic trainer Brandon King and former strength coach Brad Ohrt. A response filed on behalf of the defendants acknowledges that Smalls and his mother, LaSonia Smalls, disclosed that Smalls had sickle cell trait on a questionnaire they filled out in December 2008, but denies other allegations. The suit, which lists Smalls' father, Henry Smalls, as the plaintiff, alleges that the defendants "breached their duty" to Smalls by failing to "develop policies and procedures to safely train and condition athletes with sickle cell trait." Henry Smalls could not be reached for comment Monday. Ja'Quayvin Smalls, who was 5-10 and 185 pounds, was a North-South All-Star and All-Lowcountry player at Wando High School, and transferred to Western Carolina from Georgia Military College. He was 20 years old when he died. Sickle cell trait is found in 1 in 12 African-Americans, and occurs when a person has one copy of the gene for sickle cell, but does not have sickle cell disease, which is a genetic blood disorder. Exertional sickling can occur when a person with sickle cell trait exercises intently, leading to low blood oxygen levels, increased muscle heat and dehydration. The case had been set to go to trial this month before a change in defense counsel. The new mediation and discovery deadline is Dec. 16, according to the Asheville Citizen Times. Ja'Quayvin Smalls of Mount Pleasant, a defensive back and 2007 graduate of Wando, died after participating in his first voluntary workout at Western Carolina on July 8, 2009. The autopsy report, released in November 2009, said complications from an enlarged heart were the cause of death, and listed sickle cell trait and exertion as contributing factors. The wrongful death lawsuit, filed in January in Jackson County, N.C., seeks "a sum in excess of $10,000" and alleges that "information about sickle cell trait and exertional sickling was available to all ... defendants, who chose to ignore it." Named as defendants from Western Carolina are athletic director Chip Smith, football coach Dennis Wagner, defensive coordinator Matt Pawlowski, head athletic trainer Steven Hornbarger, assistant athletic trainer Brandon King and former strength coach Brad Ohrt. A response filed on behalf of the defendants acknowledges that Smalls and his mother, LaSonia Smalls, disclosed that Smalls had sickle cell trait on a questionnaire they filled out in December 2008, but denies other allegations. The suit, which lists Smalls' father, Henry Smalls, as the plaintiff, alleges that the defendants "breached their duty" to Smalls by failing to "develop policies and procedures to safely train and condition athletes with sickle cell trait." Henry Smalls could not be reached for comment Monday. Ja'Quayvin Smalls, who was 5-10 and 185 pounds, was a North-South All-Star and All-Lowcountry player at Wando High School, and transferred to Western Carolina from Georgia Military College. He was 20 years old when he died. Sickle cell trait is found in 1 in 12 African-Americans, and occurs when a person has one copy of the gene for sickle cell, but does not have sickle cell disease, which is a genetic blood disorder. Exertional sickling can occur when a person with sickle cell trait exercises intently, leading to low blood oxygen levels, increased muscle heat and dehydration. read more at [url=https://www.postandcourier.com/news/2011/sep/27/former-football-players-family-files-suit/]https://www.postandcourier.com/news/2011/sep/27/former-football-players-family-files-suit/[/url] Proving Wrongful Death Law Suits The attorneys of the Clore Law Group have help many families who lost a loved on due to another's negligence. There is insufficient information to say if this family has a valid claim. Although wrongful death laws vary from state to state, there are basic principals in proving your case.

  1. The death was caused, either in whole or in part, by the defendant.
  2. The death came about because the defendant was negligent or strictly liable for the death. This means, for example, you can't file a wrongful death suit against your loved one's doctor if your loved one died of cancer unless the doctor did not take the normal and necessary steps that doctors take when battling a patient's cancer.
  3. The death affected a surviving spouse, child or children who were beneficiaries or dependents of the victim. That is, the death of the victim must have personally damaged an immediate family member who can collect compensation.
  4. The death of the victim must have resulted in monetary damages.

Wrongful Death Compensatory Damages

Compensatory Damage Compensatory damages are money awarded by a judge or jury and intended to repay a victim's family for the costs of medical care, funeral and burial and other expenses they had to incur as the direct result of the wrongful death. Compensatory damages may also be awarded to compensate a deceased party's relatives for work income the victim would have earned if they had lived. Lost income can be projected out for decades depending on the age of the victim at the time of their death. Also, a damages award might be justified on the basis of grief and loss of companionship. Punitive Damages When a party's intentional, reckless or grossly negligent acts result in the death of another party, a jury or judge may impose punitive damages that are meant to punish the offending party and discourage similar acts in the future. Punitive damages are imposed in addition to compensatory damages, which are intended to repay the victim's family for medical bills, burial costs and other out-of-pocket expenses. For the most part, juries are free to impose whatever amount of punitive damages they feel are appropriate and may base their decision on the net worth of the defendant, among other factors. However, judges have the power to review the jury award and may find it is excessive, reduce the amount of the award or set it aside altogether. Limits on Damages Some states place limits on the amount of money in compensatory or punitive damages a jury can award to a victim's family in a wrongful death action. International treaties limit the amount that can be recovered by relatives of people killed on airlines traveling between nations and an employee's right to receive damages for workplace injuries may be limited by the employer's workers' compensation insurance. In such cases, while the amount the worker can receive may be limited, receiving some compensation for work-related injuries is guaranteed. If you lost a loved one, let the attorneys at the Clore Law Group determine if you have a claim.

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Clore Law Group welcomes your questions about any issues concerning a serious personal injury, car accident, medical malpractice, nursing home neglect, business tort, or workplace injury. If you have a viable claim, we’ll explain the legal process. Since consultations are always free, there’s no cost in learning your legal options.