August 8, 2011 could have been like any other day at Fort Benning. The busy United States Army post was in full swing in the hot summer sun. However, August 8, 2011 was not like any other busy, hot summer day at Fort Benning; it was a tragic day that many people will never forget. It is the day that has led to the recent filing of a wrongful death suit in connection with a brave army helicopter pilot.
According to CBSAtlanta, 37-year-old Chief Warrant Officer Steven B. Redd was operating a helicopter on that day, for the purposes of a training exercise. 30-year-old Captain John D. Hortman was also participating in the exercise, and was flying with Chief Warrant Officer Redd. Tragically, the training exercise ended in the death of both men when the helicopter crashed within the borders of Fort Benning.
Military.com reports that the family of Chief Warrant Officer Redd has now filed suit against several parties for his untimely death. The wrongful death suit was filed in United States District Court, and, among other things, alleges that the helicopter that Chief Warrant Officer Redd was piloting was unsafe. The Defendants named in the suit include the Goodrich Corporation, who designed, manufactured, tested, sold and supplied a critical component of the helicopter, Boeing Company, Goodrich Pump and Engine Control Systems and Rolls-Royce North America. The suit was filed in Connecticut, rather than in Georgia, because the defendants named in the suit are authorized to do business there. The suit alleges that a failure in the helicopter’s computer resulted in a fuel failure, which caused the engine to lose power, control and performance of the helicopter.
When someone dies due to the negligence of another person, medical malpractice or an unsafe act of another person, he or she obviously cannot bring suit on their own behalf. For these reasons, Georgia law establishes specific provisions for the people that may bring suit to recover damages for the death of a loved one. These people are called the “survivors” and the action of bringing such a suit is called a wrongful death suit. In Chief Warrant Officer Redd’s case, such survivors are his wife and three children.
Georgia Code 51-4-2 establishes that the survivors that may bring a wrongful death action are the decedent’s surviving spouse, and, if he or she did not have a spouse, his or her children. If both a spouse and children survive the decedent, then the spouse may bring the wrongful death claim, but must share the proceeds of the action with the surviving children. In the case that a decedent did not have a spouse or any children, his or her “next of kin” may bring a wrongful death suit.
If you have lost a loved one due to the wrongful or negligent conduct of another person, you may be entitled to file a wrongful death suit. In order to determine whether you may be able to receive compensation, you should immediately contact an experienced wrongful death attorney. An experienced wrongful death attorney can review your case and help you understand your options. A wrongful death suit may help bring you and your loved one the justice and peace of mind.