The family of a South Carolina woman who died after a domestic flight has filed a wrongful death suit against American Airlines.
Brittany Oswell, a 25-year-old nurse, fainted after becoming dizzy during a flight from Hawaii to Texas. A passenger who was also a doctor initially thought she was having a panic attack. But, after Oswell started vomiting, the doctor advised the flight crew that they needed to land the plane as soon as possible so she could get life-saving medical care.
However, the pilot made no attempt at an early landing and flew another hour and a half to Dallas-Fort Worth airport. Oswell spent three days on full life support. Because there was no brain activity, she was removed from life support, and she died soon after. Authorities have determined the cause of death was acute massive pulmonary embolism and cardiogenic shock.
Was the Death the Airlines Fault?
Oswell’s husband and parents filed a lawsuit accusing American Airlines of gross negligence for failing to divert the plane. The lawsuit also claims that medical equipment on the plane – some of which the doctor and crew members tried to use to care for Oswell – didn’t work properly.
If the airline’s failure to attempt to get medical treatment for Oswell was negligent and resulted in the death, or if the faulty medical equipment could have saved her life, they will most likely be liable.
How Does a Wrongful Death Claim Work In SC?
If a loved one dies because of someone else’s negligence, you may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the negligent party.
South Carolina provides a cause of action for a wrongful death in S.C. Code § 15-51-10. A claim can go forward when a person’s death was caused “by the wrongful act, neglect or default of another…,” and when the person who died could have sought damages from the defendant if they had survived.
A wrongful death action can be made only by, or on behalf of, the executor or administrator of the deceased person’s estate.
When a wrongful death lawsuit is successful, any damages are divided among the spouse, parents, and children in the same way assets are divided when someone dies without a will.
What Kinds of Accidents Lead to Wrongful Death Claims?
Wrongful death lawsuits can be filed after many types of fatal accidents or criminal acts, including:
- DUI crashes;
- Other auto accidents;
- Medical malpractice;
- Defective products;
- Tainted food or beverages;
- Nursing home abuse;
- Improper construction of a building or home; or
What About Punitive Damages?
Punitive damages may be awarded when the death was caused by gross negligence or a deliberate act. To prove gross negligence, you would have to prove that the defendant behaved in a way that any reasonable person would know could cause the death of someone else.
Wrongful Death Lawyers in Myrtle Beach, Conway, Columbia, and Charleston, SC
At Coastal Law, our Myrtle Beach wrongful death attorneys help our clients hold negligent and criminal individuals and companies accountable for the tragedies that they have caused. We will do everything legally and ethically possible to recover maximum compensation for your family from the at-fault person or company.
Call to speak with an attorney today at (843) 488-5000 or fill out our online form to set up a free consultation about your case.