Previously we have talked about proximate cause and there was a question about what would happen if you had an accident and then years later you had a medical problem associated with the injury from the accident. Recently in the Baltimore Daily Record a case was noted – it eventually resulted in a settlement.
The widow and children of a man who killed himself more than 2 years after sustaining multiple, but not life threatening injuries, in an accident settled their wrongful death claim based on the fact that the suicide was proximately caused by the injury.
It’s interesting because the original injury was not terribly serious, but it apparently resulted in substantial emotional and mental trauma. The man apparently killed himself using an overdose of alcohol and pills. He left a suicide note in which he described himself as a loser. He was 45 years old. The case was settled after the presiding judge refused to throw out the case after Motions by the defense. The defense argued that there was not sufficient evidence to make a claim that that the accident was a proximate cause of the suicide especially considering that the suicide occurred years later – but the judge refused to throw it out and thereafter there was a settlement.