Pennsylvania fans of basketball player Kobe Bryant might have read that his wife, Vanessa Bryant, filed a lawsuit against the company that owned the helicopter he died in. The crash, which happened in January, killed the pilot and all eight passengers aboard, including the Bryants’ 13-year-old daughter, a coach for their daughter’s team, and one of their daughter’s teammates and her parents. They were en route to a youth basketball tournament when the helicopter hit a hillside and crashed.
The pilot is named as a defendant in Bryant’s lawsuit, which claims that he should have turned back when it became apparent that conditions were too foggy. Following an investigation, the National Transportation Safety Board concluded in February that the crash was not caused by the engine failure. However, the company was not certified to have its pilots fly in foggy conditions according to an article in the “New York Times.”
In April, family members of the coach and Bryant’s teammates filed lawsuits in the Los Angeles Superior Court. While they did not name the pilot, they did name the owners and operators of the helicopter. The operator ceased operations after the crash. All of the lawsuits cite negligence as a factor in the crash.
Families who have lost ones in an accident and who file a lawsuit for wrongful death must establish negligence for the lawsuit to be successful. Only certain members of the family are eligible to file a lawsuit, and if there are minor children, a lawsuit can be filed on their behalf. Compensation might include the person’s lost income over a lifetime as well as costs associated with the accident. Responsible parties could include those who directly caused the accident as well as property owners and operators. The case might be settled out of court or might go to litigation.