Many basketball fans in Connecticut fans were saddened when they learned that former Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant was killed along with his daughter and seven other people in a helicopter crash in Los Angeles County on Jan. 26. The entourage was traveling to a youth basketball game that Bryant’s daughter was scheduled to play in. On Feb. 24, Bryant’s widow filed a wrongful death lawsuit in Los Angeles against the company that operated the helicopter. She is seeking an unspecified amount of compensatory and punitive damages.
The crash took place on a hillside in Calabasas during a period of unusually foggy weather. The crash also took the life of the pilot, and the lawsuit states that Island Express Helicopters should be held vicariously liable due to its status as the employer of the deceased pilot. The lawsuit also alleges that the company was only allowed to have the helicopter operate under visual flight rules and that it was not certified for instrument flight rules.
The plaintiff further states in her complaint that the pilot should have aborted the flight after learning of the inclement weather and that he should have known about it before taking off. The lawsuit goes on to say that the pilot had committed a violation of weather flight rules at least once before when he was the pilot of another helicopter operated by the defendant. An investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board is expected to take several months.
The sudden loss of a loved one is always painful, but California law provides for the filing of a wrongful death lawsuit. Such legal action is often warranted if someone’s death was caused by the negligence of another party. Surviving loved ones who are in this situation might want to meet with an attorney to learn about the types of damages that can be sought.