Family of Child Struck and Killed by Lightning Files Wrongful Death Lawsuit

A multi-million dollar wrongful death lawsuit was filed in Florida by the parents of a boy who was struck and killed by lightning during football practice.

lightning strikeThe family of 11-year-old Jesse Watlington who was struck and killed by lightning last month during football practice has filed a lawsuit against McGregor Baptist Church and Southwest Florida Christian Academy alleging that their son's death could have been prevented. According to a Nov. 19 Fox News report, the lawsuit alleges that the church and school were negligent for allowing students to practice during a storm under the supervision of coaches who did not know how to perform CPR. In addition, the lawsuit (Case number: 12-CA-003332), filed in Lee County Twentieth Judicial Circuit Court also alleges that there was no lightning detection device on the field on that day.

Jesse's father, Chuck Watlington, tells Fox News that he was informed that the device was in the office, but turned off at the time. The lawsuit also contends that while the Florida High School Athletic Association requires each member school to have an operational automated external defibrillator (AED), the team did not have one. The Watlingtons have said that their hope with this lawsuit is to prevent similar tragedies from happening in the future, the news report states.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), there have been 28 lightning-related fatalities nationwide so far in 2012. Five of those fatalities were in the state of Florida, the report states. In 2011, 26 lightning-related deaths were reported in the United States.

"When it comes to sports teams, the schools or organizations that run these programs are responsible for the safety and well-being of its participants," said John Bisnar, founder of the Bisnar | Chase personal injury law firms. "It is absolutely essential for coaches to get CPR training and definitely make a judgment as to when it is safe or unsafe for children to go out into the field. Given the tools we have today to get the most up-to-date weather forecasts, there is no reason should be exposed to weather-related hazards."

Bisnar says wrongful death lawsuits play a vital role in our civil justice system. "Not only do these lawsuits help families get a sense of justice by holding the negligent parties or wrongdoers responsible, but they also play a part in ensuring that similar tragedies do not happen in the future."

About Bisnar | Chase

The California Wrongful Death Lawyers of Bisnar | Chase represent victims of wrongful death, and many other personal injuries. The firm has been featured on a number of popular media outlets including Newsweek, Fox, NBC, and ABC and is known for its passionate pursuit of results for their clients. Since 1978, Bisnar | Chase has recovered millions of dollars for victims of wrongful death accidents.

For more information, or for a free consultation, please call 949-203-3814.


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