Attorneys add wrongful death to lawsuit after boy dies in Opelik - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Attorneys add wrongful death to lawsuit after boy dies in Opelika recreation center incident

Liam Kawaguchi died nearly three weeks ago after being declared brain dead by the Lee County Coroner. ( Source: WTVM) Liam Kawaguchi died nearly three weeks ago after being declared brain dead by the Lee County Coroner. ( Source: WTVM)
OPELIKA, AL (WTVM) -

Attorneys for the family of a seven-year-old boy who died after an incident at an Opelika recreation center are adding new legal action against the city.

Liam Kawaguchi died nearly three weeks ago after being declared brain dead by the Lee County Coroner. According to a statement from the City of Opelika, lifeguards at Covington Recreation Center heard a commotion and then found Kawaguchi unresponsive. A lifeguard performed CPR on him until paramedics arrived at the scene.

Attorneys for Kawaguchi’s mother say they are adding a claim for wrongful death to the lawsuit they already have against the city.

Attorneys released the following statement:

We are saddened to announce that our client, seven-year-old Liam, has succumbed to his injuries; therefore, we will be amending the original lawsuit to add a claim for wrongful death.  Because of Alabama’s statutory law, the initial lawsuit had to be filed before the child’s death in order to preserve particular claims, such as a claim for medical expenses incurred by the family which will be well over $100,000. Had the initial lawsuit not been filed prior to the child’s death, the mother of the child would have no cause of action for his medical expenses and care.  Hence, the early filing of the lawsuit was required because of Alabama law.

Most states allow for compensatory damages in wrongful death cases to cover the costs of funeral expenses, medical expenses, and other losses resulting from untimely death, but the Alabama wrongful death law allows for only punitive damages.  In other words, many states focus on the value of the deceased’s life and related damages, while Alabama wrongful death law focuses almost completely on the wrongdoing of the defendant.  Alabama’s wrongful death statute has two purposes: to punish the defendant(s) who are found negligent and to deter similar negligence by other parties in the future.

The family asks that you please give them privacy during this time and keep them in your prayers.  

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