Officials at San Francisco General Hospital recently announced the sad news that a third passenger of Asiana Airlines Flight 214 had succumbed to her injuries. The tragic announcement followed the earlier disclosure of the death of two-sixteen-year old Chinese nationals, after the Boeing 777 crash-landed on the runway of San Francisco Airport. The body of one of the two teenage girls, Wang Linjia, was found at a considerable distance from the plane wreckage. San Francisco Police Department announced that Ms. Linjia may have been run over by a San Francisco Fire Department fire truck after the initial crash.
Whom should the family sue?
The circumstances of Ms. Linjia’s death raise a question over whom her relatives could sue should they wish to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Miss Linjia was initially a victim of the crash-landing of Asiana Airines Flight 214, but was subsequently run over by a truck belonging to the San Francisco Fire Department. Under California law, if a person is killed by the negligent act of another person, the family of the deceased is entitled to bring a civil suit for wrongful death against the person whose act caused the death. However, if a third party intervened before the deceased died, it may provide a defense for the party that was originally negligent. In this case, if Ms. Linjia’s relatives sue the airline for wrongful death, the airline may argue in its defense that Ms. Linjia may have survived had she not been run over by the fire truck. If they sue the Fire Department, the Fire Department may argue that she had already been killed or mortally injured by the plane crash.
Let’s hope that the results of the autopsy help explain which party caused her tragic death.