A tragic case of mistaken identity

On Behalf of | Mar 9, 2020 | Firm News |

Circumstances leading up to wrongful death cases are seldom simple. They are nearly always devastating for the families involved. However, some cases are more egregious than others, potentially causing differing degrees of emotional and mental anguish among a more varied group of people than is typical. 

Such was the case in an event in Chicago that led to the death of a man in a hospital. According to the New York Post, siblings rushed to the hospital to share the last moments of their brother before making the difficult and agonizing decision to remove him from life support. The issue: The badly beaten man was not who the hospital allegedly assumed him to be. 

The report further indicated that, despite the sisters’ protestations, hospital staff members insisted that the injured man was indeed the family of the visitors. Later, after the assumed-dead brother appeared at a family barbecue — and after Chicago police fingerprinted the deceased individual, revealing the mistaken identity — that the facts began to more completely illustrate the hospital’s alleged negligence. 

FindLaw states that, in North Carolina, representatives of deceased individuals have grounds to file a wrongful death lawsuit when the individual could have filed suit during life. By this guideline, it is likely that anyone in a similar situation in this state would have the right to file suit. 

From the actions of the families involved — both those of the deceased man and the man for whom he was mistaken — is apparent that the laws in Illinois provide similar rights. They joined together in lawsuits against the city of Chicago and the hospital in question, bringing allegations of wrongful death, emotional distress and negligence.