Visitor Question

Death of dementia patient…

Submitted By: Claudia (Fort mill, SC)

My mother was killed when my stepfather pulled to the center area of a 6 lane busy highway and told my mother to get out of the truck to throw up. She stepped out of the truck and tried to run across oncoming traffic. She had been diagnosed with dementia/alzheimers 3 years previous to the “accident”.

My step father is the sole person to inherit our family home. Do my brother and I have cause to pursue a wrongful death action? Is my stepfather criminally liable for her death? Thank you for any information you can give.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.

Answer

Dear Claudia,

Form the facts you present, your stepfather certainly exhibited poor judgment. Whether or not his actions were criminal will depend upon an investigation by the local police. To initiate a criminal investigation, contact the Fort Mill Police Department.

A wrongful death case is a separate action from the criminal investigation. It would be a civil claim against your stepfather. To pursue a separate wrongful death claim will require the advice and counsel of an experienced personal injury attorney.

One of the options available, with the help of a seasoned attorney, is a temporary restraining order. It might stop the transfer of the property to your stepfather. A temporary restraining order would remain in effect until such time as a court could make a final determination of the legal recipients of the property.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Published: April 7, 2015

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