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Wrongful death suit filed after death at Texas University

The University of Texas at Arlington is facing a lawsuit for the death of an engineering student. The young man died after visiting the school's Health Services for a knee injury last summer. His parents are now filing a wrongful death suit on his behalf.

The student got his knee checked out at the health clinic a couple of days after hurting his knee while playing a sport. The suit claims that when he went in to the clinic, his vital signs were abnormal and his knee was swollen, but he was sent home to rest.

A week later, the student went back to the clinic for a follow-up, and, despite having abnormal vitals, he was once again released. Later that day, he was taken to the emergency room where he died of an untreated blood clot. The student had no history of knee problems.

The suit claims that three members of the health center staff, including a physician, should have recognized the abnormal vital signs in the student. This negligence allegedly contributed to the student's death.

The student's parents are seeking $8 million each from the university. This number is based on the student's medical expenses which were over $85,000 and his funeral costs, which were over $10,000. The damages requested are also based on the fact that the boy was expected to make a lifetime total of $4 million in income as an engineer.

Courts will take multiple factors into account when determining damages in a wrongful death suit. Medical and funeral expenses as well as loss of support are considered. Courts will also look at the age, earning capacity, life expectancy and health of the decedent.

Source: Arlington Star-Telegram, "Wrongful-death suit seeks $16 million from UTA," Elizabeth Campbell, Dec. 3, 2012

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Brian Jensen

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