Wrongful Death and Bullying


Death is never a pleasant topic, and even more so when it’s unexpected or due to the negligence of another. Wrongful death is a legal term that means someone who has died at the fault of another person or entity. This could be the result of a car accident caused by another driver, or a faulty part to an automobile that ultimately caused death. However, wrongful death is not limited to auto related deaths.

Some examples of a valid wrongful death claim could be any of the following:

Some cases you may remember, OJ Simpson was held financially liable in the wrongful death of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman. Nancy Grace was sued for wrongful death after a guest on her show committed suicide following a harsh interview on national television. Phil Hartman was murdered by his wife in a murder-suicide, which her family subsequently brought a wrongful death lawsuit against Pfizer, who manufactured the anti-depressant Zoloft.

The case against Nancy Grace pertains to a growing issue, one we have seen before and are likely to see over and over again. Grace was accused of bullying and berating her guest, allegedly resulting in her guest committing suicide following the interview.

Since the emergence of the internet there has been an up tick in the amount of cyber bullying that goes on in any given day. The case against Grace wasn’t due to online badgering, rather badgering a guest on her television show in front of millions of viewers. However, cyber bullying is a type of bullying we are seeing more and more often.

The internet creates a sense of anonymity with a much farther reach than your typical school yard bully. With all the different social media platforms on-line today, and the ability to mask your identity, we are seeing a whole new way of bullying. At times it also seems to be a much more vicious form of bullying which can wreak havoc on a person’s mental health, as well as their physical health.

A notable wrongful death lawsuit was filed by the mother of Rebecca Sedwick, a 12-year-old Floridian who committed suicide following a rash of bullying by two of her peers. Her peers were initially charged with aggravated stalking, but those charges were later dropped. The wrongful death lawsuit is still being considered.

What can you do if you or your children are being bullied?

Bullying can result in mental and physical harm to a person. It’s important to understand the type of bullying you are enduring and take some steps to prevent it from going any further and causing irreparable harm. Below are a few options you may have:

  • Notify school officials (if occurring at school)
  • Notify the proper authorities
  • Contact the District Attorney’s Office
  • Consult a lawyer, and possibly file a lawsuit
  • Document everything

Contacting an attorney can be a good way to understand your options when you or someone you love is being bullied. If the bullying occurs on-line, take screen shots of anything considered to be a part of said bullying. Document any interaction with the alleged bully or bullies, and document the emotional or physical toll it has taken.

Joining a movement or support groups, contacting your state or local representatives to make them aware of the harms of bullying can greatly increase the chance of something being done at a city or state level. Bullying has always been around, and is constantly morphing into different types of bullying. Without speaking up it is likely to continue as long as we humans exist.