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Jury Awards Family Of Killed Victim $1 Million In Wrongful Death Lawsuit After 911 And Officers Failed Her

In May, one jury awarded a family $1 million in a wrongful death lawsuit for negligence that was displayed after a 911 phone call concerning a prowler. According to reports, the victim called 911 to report the prowler and the dispatcher reportedly failed to keep her on the phone, ask her for the location, and obtain other important details. The lawsuit also accused the officers that were dispatched to the residence to make contact with her, who reportedly failed to search the perimeter of the home prior to leaving. According to reports, the officers arrived and left right away (once that no one answered the door). The culprit admitted that he was in the victim’s home when the officers came and left, and the victim was eventually found dead after being brutally beaten, raped, and shot.

The Responsibility Of 911 Dispatchers & Officers

In circumstances like these, it is the responsibility of the officers to make contact with the individual who made the call to conduct a welfare check. Still, it is up to the jury as to whether the family of the victim should still receive a judgment for any actions that caused wrongful death. In these cases, local governments will often try to argue that the officers involved should be insulated from liability via the doctrine of governmental immunity. However, juries have found that, in cases where officers failed to protect citizens, they can be held liable. This is typically determined on a case-by-case basis, but failing to follow common-sense and typical protocol when there is evidence that someone could be in danger tends to serve as a predictor of liability.

In addition, courts have also held that 911 operators and dispatchers are not immune from being sued for negligence in mishandling calls. Typically, it is a state’s Torts Claims Act that establishes the conditions under which these entities can be sued and, in addition, 911 operators and dispatchers can also be held liable under state Telecommunications Acts.

If You Have Suffered a Loss, Contact Our Texas Wrongful Death Attorneys

While, according to reports, the officers, as well as the dispatcher, were fired in this case, they were then reinstated once that the Assistant City Attorney argued that the plaintiffs could not identify a specific policy that was violated or an area where the victim’s constitutional rights were violated.

If you or your family has suffered a death in the family due to the negligence of an individual, company, city, or other entity, contact our Houston wrongful death attorneys at The West Law Office today to find out how we can help you fight for justice.


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