Wrongful Death Lawsuit Filed In Ohio Alleges City Failed To Inspect And Maintain Trees After Girl Was Killed By Fallen Tree.
A wrongful death lawsuit has been filed in Ohio against Massillon, Ohio for recklessness and neglect after a 21-year-old college student was killed when a tree fell on her in a city park. The father of the Perry Township woman asserts that the city was negligent by not properly maintaining and inspecting the condition of trees at South Sippo Park.
The Bethlehem Township father said in his Ohio wrongful death lawsuit that his daughter was a student at Kent State University at Stark and was taking a study break on the windy afternoon of September 21, 2014. According to the lawsuit, the woman was on a walking trail in the park when she was hit by a large tree that fell across the walking path. The victim died due to injuries to her head and body from the impact and she sustained internal injuries, the Stark County Coroner’s Office reported.
The father says his main goal for filing the complaint is to “change the way the city handles its tree policy” so that a tree will not fall on another person as it did his daughter, according to a report in CantonRep.com. The father further claimed the city should be liable for failing to have an arborist on staff. The complaint also seeks reimbursement for medical expenses, funeral service and burial costs, and other fees and costs.
Under Ohio’s wrongful death statute, a wrongful death civil action can be filed by a deceased individual’s surviving spouse, children or parents, all of whom are presumed to have suffered damages due. The state statute also allows a survivor to seek compensatory damages which may include :
• Loss of support from the reasonably expected earning capacity of the decedent
• Loss of services
• Loss of society, including companionship, care, and assistance
• Mental anguish incurred by the surviving spouse, dependent children, parents, or next of kin of the decedent
Trees falling due to the wind is the subject of a 12-year study published in the July 2009 issue of Natural Hazards. According to a study, there were 407 deaths from wind-related tree failures from 1995 through 2007. The most common cause of trees falling were thunderstorm (41%), high winds (35%), tropical cyclones (14%), tornadoes (7%), and snow and ice (3%). The study also found that the most common location for the fatality was in a vehicle struck by a tree or a vehicle that crashed into a downed tree (44%) followed by people outdoors (38%), in mobile homes and in frame houses. The study’s author recommended developing a tree risk assessment and management program for roads and in parks to maintain trees.