Wrongful death of a California boy settled long before trial

Nobody should experience the death of a young child. The idea is so painful many people feel wrong even talking or thinking about it. But the law has a long memory and must sometimes face the worst things people experience.

When a minor child dies in California because of the carelessness or cruelty of a person, company or government, the parents may consider a wrongful death lawsuit. It might make a major difference for the family and help keep other families’ children safer in the future.

Boy dies in a bizarre way while playing with friends

Take the example of a 12-year-old boy named Adrian. While playing with his friends in a northeastern neighborhood of Fresno, their football dropped between a wire fence and a cinderblock wall.

When Adrian reached to fetch the ball, the chain-link fence electrocuted the boy. He died in the hospital about five days later.

His mother filed a wrongful death lawsuit a month after Adrian’s death.

A lawsuit accuses owners of negligence

According to the lawsuit, the apartment complex next door owned the fence. It had used its handyman to install a security camera. He had no license and no permit to do the electrical work, which the city had no chance to inspect.

The work left an exposed live wire, which touched the chain links, creating a deadly electrified fence.

About three weeks before the case was scheduled to go before a jury, the apartment owners and its representatives offered a $5.7 million settlement, and the family accepted.

Wrongful death lawsuits can matter to family and community

Of course, nothing will ever bring Adrian back. Although the mother did not speak to reporters, the settlement will probably pay for funeral and other expenses, such as counseling and other support for his mother and others who may need it after Adrian’s death.

The family’s representative did point out that the lawsuit puts other commercial landowners on notice. City building codes existed to protect Adrian and his friends and millions of kids like them. Experienced contractors with proper licenses should do work that might kill or injure if done improperly.