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Holding Schools Liable for Accidental Deaths: Death of Queens High School Student Raises Questions

wrongful death lawyerJust days after celebrating the holiday season, a 16-year-old Queens boy collapsed and went into cardiac arrest at basketball practice at John Bowne High School in Flushing on December 27th. According to NBC news, his coaches performed CPR on him before EMS responded and transported him to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead. News sources state that he was already on life support by the time his mother got to the hospital.

His mother told the media that he did not have any health problems or allergies and was not on any medication. The New York City medical examiner’s office is investigating the unexpected death.

School’s Liability in Accidental Deaths

Schools have the responsibility to maintain a safe environment for students. School officials act in loco parentis, which is just a fancy way of saying “in the place of parents,” when children are in their care at school. They have the responsibility to prevent foreseeable dangers from harming students.
In cases of accidental injury or death where the school could not have done anything to prevent the harm, they may still be held liable in their response to the situation. In cases where students go in to cardiac arrest, the school may not have done anything to create the damage, but they may still face a lawsuit claiming they did nothing to mitigate or reduce it.

The Importance of an Automated External Defibrillator (AED)

An automated external defibrillator (AED) is a portable device that checks the heart rhythm and can send an electric shock to the heart to try to restore a normal rhythm. AEDs are used to treat sudden cardiac arrest. This is when the heart unexpectedly stops beating.
The cost for an AED device is between $1,200 and $3,000. Having this device on school premises could mean the difference between life and death for students who collapse and go into cardiac arrest, like the recent situation of the 16-year-old death at John Bowne High School. In that case, if the high school had an AED device and the coaches failed to use it on the basketball player, they may be held liable for not doing anything to mitigate or reduce the likelihood of the teenage boy’s death.

Call a New York Wrongful Death Attorney Today

If you have lost a loved one in an accidental death while at school and believe the school failed to mitigate or reduce the likelihood of death, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. Although no amount of money will bring back your loved one, it can bring a sense of justice and closure.
For more information or to consult with one of our experienced New York wrongful death attorneys, please call Gersowitz Libo & Korek, P.C. at 1-800-529-9997.

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Jeff Korek

Jeff S. Korek

Senior Trial Partner​

Jeff S. Korek joined Gersowitz Libo & Korek, P.C. in 1992 as the Senior Trial partner. Known for his meticulous preparation and dedication to his clients, Jeff has obtained some of the state’s highest verdicts and settlements.