It may sound like a bad joke, but there is such a thing as immunity against a wrongful death lawsuit even if negligence is clearly established. Certain groups are provided protection by the law from a wrongful death claim, which means that they cannot be held liable even if it is their fault that a person or persons died.
But like anything involving the law, it is not as simple as that.
Wrongful death claims can usually apply when a person dies from the action or inaction of another person. Sudden deaths are highly traumatic for the survivors. Common situations where a wrongful death may occur would be car accidents, medical errors, dangerous premises, and equipment failures. Anyone or anything that caused the situation is generally liable under tort law.
However, there are exceptions. Government agencies and corporations, public schools, law enforcement agencies, fire departments, family members, railroad companies, generic drug manufacturers, and some medical device manufacturers have been granted immunity from wrongful death claims.
It is easy to understand why the police and firefighters are given this immunity if the injury or death occurred in the performance of their duties; it is less clear why generic drug manufacturers have the same protection. After all, the nature of firefighting and police work entails a certain degree of fatal injury potential. But it is hard to justify why manufacturers of brand name drugs can be sued while manufacturers of the generic version of the same drug cannot be.
But nothing is set in stone when it comes to the law. The immunity of generic drug companies has already been successfully challenged in California, and there is no reason why a competent wrongful death attorney in Atlanta, Georgia or in Washington, D.C. cannot do the same with the right case.
If you are a “real person of interest,” meaning you are eligible to file a wrongful death suit on behalf of the victim, then it would be best to have an experienced wrongful death lawyer on your camp. You may be compelled to pull out all the stops to get justice, and you need someone with a thorough knowledge of state law to get it properly done.