The failure to exercise reasonable or prudent care that an ordinary person would make under the same circumstances.
In order to win a negligence case, the plaintiff (the person injured) must prove the following four elements to show that the defendant (the person allegedly at fault) acted negligently:
Duty - The defendant owed a legal duty to the plaintiff under the circumstances;
Breach - The defendant breached that legal duty by acting or failing to act in a certain way;
Causation - It was the defendant's actions (or inaction) that actually caused the plaintiff's injury; and
Damages - The plaintiff was harmed or injured as a result of the defendant's actions
A wrongful death claim is a civil lawsuit alleging that a victim’s life was wrongfully taken due to the negligent, deliberate, or willful action of another. Such claim is filed by the spouse or family members of the deceased person, or someone who represents the decedent's estate.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Concluded That The Helicopter Crash Involving NBA Star Kobe Bryant Was Probably Caused By Pilot Ara Zobayan's Poor Decision-Making
On January 26, 2020, a helicopter crash resulted in the sudden death of NBA star Kobe Bryant and daughter Gianna. Vanessa Bryant filed the first complaint against the helicopter company and the pilot on February 24 stating: Defendant Island Express Helicopters’ breach of its duty and negligence caused the injuries and damages complained of and Plaintiffs’ deceased, Kobe Bryant, was killed as a direct result of the negligent conduct of [the pilot] Zobayan for which Defendant Island Express Helicopters is vicariously liable in all respects. In the employment context, vicarious liability refers to a finding that an employer is negligent for the wrongful acts of an employee.
Bryant’s lawsuit alleges that the pilot was negligent for flying in such poor weather conditions, and that the pilot “had a duty to use that degree of care that an ordinarily careful and prudent pilot would use under the same or similar circumstances.” The claim also contends that the pilot was negligent in not assessing the weather data before departure and that despite the hazardous conditions, that the pilot did not stop the flight and land and the helicopter.
The NTSB, a government agency tasked with investigating transportation accidents, began looking into the crash shortly after it occurred. NTSB concluded Tuesday that pilot Ara Zobayan's poor decision-making and disorientation probably caused the helicopter crash involving Bryant. Zobayan was flying under visual flight rules, but chose to fly into thick clouds, where he became spatially disoriented. Investigators also attributed fault to Island Express Helicopters, citing its "inadequate review and oversight of its safety management processes." Read the full article HERE
As Sports Illustrated explains, to prove wrongful death, Bryant must show by a preponderance of the evidence that Zobayan (and, by extension, Island Express) owed duties of care to her husband and daughter and that Zobayan’s negligent actions and omissions caused their deaths. The long-awaited release of NTSB's investigative findings will likely help Bryant as she continues to navigate this complex web of litigation.
For a full copy of the lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court click here: Complaint For Damages