You go to the hospital’s emergency room to get treatment for a serious injury or illness. It’s the last place you would expect someone would get killed in a car accident. Tragically, that is what happened to a woman at Piedmont Atlanta Hospital earlier this summer.
The woman had driven her mother to Piedmont’s ER to get her medical attention. According to video footage at the ER entrance, the woman had exited her SUV when a car that was slowly pulling up behind her vehicle suddenly accelerated. The car crashed into the SUV, then slammed through the ER doors.
The woman was unable to dodge the crash. She died of her injuries. It does not appear that her mother or the driver of the car, a 75-year-old woman, was seriously hurt.
Wrongful death and third parties
Usually, in wrongful death lawsuits related to auto accidents, the victim’s executor sues the driver responsible for the collision. But sometimes, a third party is accused of causing the death. In this case, the deceased woman’s husband is suing Piedmont, not the driver who hit his wife.
That’s because he believes the driveway in front of the ER doors was not reasonably safe. Specifically, if the hospital had placed barriers known as bollards on the curb between the driveway and the sidewalk, the man believes his wife would still be alive. He and his attorneys argue that the driver would have crashed into the bollards instead of the man’s wife and the ER entryway.
In Georgia, third parties to car accidents can be held liable for wrongful death if that party acted negligently and that negligence was the first link in the chain of events that caused the victim to pass away. In this lawsuit, Piedmont’s decision not to put a protective barrier between vehicles and pedestrians in front of the door could cause the hospital to be liable for the victim’s death.
Learn how wrongful death law really works
Wrongful death litigation can be very complicated and emotional. Discuss the process with a personal injury attorney so you know what to expect.