In early May 2012, according to Oceanside, California police, former National Football League player Junio Seau was found in a bedroom with a gunshot wound to the chest and revolver near his body. Although Seau did not leave a suicide note, the death was ruled a suicide. Junior Seau was 43.

Seau’s family recently filed a wrongful death suit against the National Football League (NFL). The family argued that Seau was diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) from all of the hits to the head he sustained during his 20 years in the NFL. Seau’s family claims that the NFL deliberately disregarded, and even concealed, evidence of the risks of the type of traumatic brain injuries that NFL players endure. Seau’s family also sued Riddell, Inc., the helmet manufacturer for the NFL, for negligence.

Each state's laws regarding wrongful death are a bit different. In Georgia, to prove a claim of wrongful death, the plaintiff must show by a preponderance of the evidence that the victim’s death was caused by the negligent, reckless, intentional, or criminal acts or another person or business.

Georgia’s wrongful death statute recognizes the following grounds for wrongful death:

  • Intentional homicide
  • Unsafe prescription drugs
  • Faulty construction
  • Criminal and/or unlawful acts
  • Contaminated food
  • Medical malpractice
  • Nursing home abuse or neglect
  • Drunk driving or illegal or improper service of alcohol
  • Careless and/or negligent conduct
  • Dangerous or defective product

To succeed in the wrongful death lawsuit, Seau’s family must prove that the NFL knowingly allowed Seau to play professional football with equipment that did not provide players with adequate protection from repeated blows to the head.

If a loved one has died as the result of any of the grounds listed above, you may wish to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit. It is often the case that the deceased was providing both financial and emotional support. Monetary compensation may be able to help you survive financially after the loss of a loved one.