Jury selection began today in Michael Jackson's wrongful death trial. Jackson's mother, Katherine, claims that Jackson's death was caused in part by his tour promoters, AEG Live. She alleges that AEG Live did not take proper steps to ensure Jackson was healthy enough to perform.
The case raises multiple questions. Chief among them is whether AEG hired Dr. Murray and whether the company could have foreseen that Dr. Murray would provide Jackson with an overdose of drugs. AEG Live claims it did not participate in hiring Dr. Murray or the treatment he provided. There is documentation, however, that AEG communicated with Dr. Murray regarding Jackson's treatment before the tour. It is now up to the jury to determine what level of communication AEG had with Dr. Murray and whether the company is accountable, in part, for Jackson's death.
Wrongful death lawsuits are civil actions against parties who may be legally accountable for a death. Certain immediate families can bring a wrongful death suit when they have evidence that a party's negligent or criminal actions caused their loved one's death. Through a wrongful death lawsuit, a family can recover compensation for pain and suffering, medical bills, funeral expenses and other economic and noneconomic damages resulting from negligence.
Wrongful death lawsuits can come out of a wide range of accidental and intentional "tort" (wrongdoing). Situations like Michael Jackson's death can lead to a wrongful death claim, but more commonly, we see claims involving accidental injuries, such as those involving fatal car accidents, medical malpractice and defective products.
Source: Today Entertainment, "Michael Jackson Wrongful Death Trial Begins in Los Angeles," Randee Dawn, Apr. 2, 2013