A Newport Beach woman has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Southwest Airlines claiming crewmembers mistook her husband’s medical emergency for unruly behavior during a California flight and failed to assist him.
According to a CBS news report, 46-year-old Richard Ilczyszyn was found unconscious after a flight from Oakland to Orange County last year.
He died the following day at a hospital. He had suffered a blood clot.
His wife, Kelly Ilczyszyn, herself a Southwest flight attendant for 16 years, filed the lawsuit in Alameda County Superior Court.
Mishandling of an Emergency?
She told media that she felt let down by her work family and that they had made “horrible decisions and came to conclusions that were not based on accurate assessments.”
According to the lawsuit, which names his wife and three children as plaintiffs, Ilczyszyn ran into the airplane’s bathroom about 10 minutes before it was about to land in Orange County.
Crewmembers heard him crying out in pain and opened the bathroom door, but then closed it again and treated the incident as a “passenger disruption.”
Orange County sheriff’s officials came aboard the plane after it landed.
But, since the crew had misinformed them that a passenger had barricaded himself in the bathroom, they got to Ilczyszyn only after getting everyone off the plane, which took about 30 minutes.
Doctors determined that Ilczyszyn’s brain had been deprived of oxygen for 33 minutes while on the plane, according to the lawsuit.
Wrongful Death Actions
Under California law, a wrongful death claim arises when one person dies as the result of the wrongful act or negligence of another person or entity.
A wrongful death claim is a civil lawsuit brought to court directly by the survivors of the deceased person or by the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate.
As opposed to a criminal trial where the guilty party is punished, a civil case results in damages where the court orders the defendant to pay the decedent’s survivors, if the lawsuit is successful.
A wrongful death lawsuit is usually brought by a spouse, children, parents, siblings or other individuals who were financially dependent on the decedent.
If you have lost a loved one due to someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing, please contact an experienced Orange County wrongful death attorney who will fight for your rights and pursue justice and fair compensation on your behalf.