Is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Forthcoming in the Belcher Case?

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Is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Forthcoming in the Belcher Case?

A Chicago attorney speculated over the weekend that a wrongful death lawsuit may be forthcoming in the murder-suicide tragedy involving NFL linebacker Jovan Belcher.

Some have speculated that concussions played a role in Belcher’s erratic decision process.

Attorney Gary Annes of Abels & Annes, P.C. ( drew a parallel between the Belcher case and other notable wrongful death lawsuits.

“Right now, the legal possibilities are up in the air. With the Jovan Belcher situation it is impossible right now to tell if a civil suit case will occur,” said Annes. “It is up to the families of the victims and their attorneys to decide.”

He went on to note that a “wrongful death lawsuit can stem from many things, including auto accidents, premises liability, work injury, medical malpractice, construction accident, nursing home neglect or abuse, and from other types of negligence. The following cases show how wrongful death lawsuits can emerge from such high profile incidents:

“The OJ Simpson Civil Trial (No. SC031947 Cal. Super. Ct. filed July 20, 1994): Former NFL great and actor O.J. Simpson is one of most notorious figures to ever be held financially liable for another’s death. After Simpson was acquitted in 1995 on criminal charges, he was sued in civil court by the Brown and Goldman families for the wrongful death of their loved ones. According to ABC News, in 1997, a civil jury found Simpson liable for the two deaths, and ordered him to pay $33.5 million to the families of murder victims Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman.

“The Phil Hartman Murder-Suicide (Case number B C210990): In a situation similar to the Jovan Belcher incident, ‘Saturday Night Live’ actor and comedian Phil Hartman was shot to death by his wife, Brynn Hartman, who then took her own life. According to reports, Brynn Hartman’s family sued Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, the maker of the anti-depressant Zoloft, which Brynn was taking for panic attacks. According to court documents, the family alleged that the drug drove Brynn to insanity, which caused her to shoot her husband and herself. The suit was settled for an undisclosed amount.

“The Dave Duerson Concussion Lawsuit (Case Number 2011N-0155): A wrongful death lawsuit was brought against the NFL by the family of former NFL star Dave Duerson. According to court documents, the family alleged that the league didn’t do enough to prevent or treat the string of concussions that severely damaged his brain before he killed himself last year. The case is still in progress.”