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Parents file wrongful death lawsuit after son shot while hunting

Patricia M. Jarzobski

The parents of a 14-year-old Colorado boy have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against a man after he allegedly killed their son. The wrongful death suit was filed in federal court because the man is from another state and because the amount the parents are seeking, although unspecified in a media report, is over $75,000. The parents also have requested a trial by jury.

The boy and his father were bow hunting just a month earlier when he died after being shot in the chest. The suit claims the accused man did not take the time or the precaution of distinguishing their son from an animal when he pointed his weapon toward the boy. Although no amount of money will undo the tragedy that has already occurred, the sum the parents are requesting -- if awarded -- will cover some of their grief, emotional distress and loss of companionship for actions they claim were negligent, extreme and outrageous.

The man has been formally charged in a Colorado criminal court with reckless manslaughter and hunting in a careless manner, the latter of which is a misdemeanor. In court, his attorney waived advisement on the charges against him and requested a later court date, which the judge set for next month. The man was served the papers for the civil lawsuit as he left the courtroom.

A wrongful death lawsuit is often filed when a loved one has died as a result of the negligence of another party. The claim seeks financial compensation for losses of future earning potential, any medical expenses incurred before death and funeral and burial expenses. The burden of proof in a civil claim is known as a preponderance of the evidence and is less stringent than the proof required for a criminal conviction. If the man is convicted, proof of that may be offered as evidence of financial liability in the wrongful death litigation.

Source: gjsentinel.com, "Shooting suspect in court", Paul Shockley, Oct. 23, 2015

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