$500,000 Settlement for Fatal Burns

Kenneth Elwood represented a 41-year-old wheelchair-bound group home resident who suffered fatal burns from cigarette smoking. This young woman had suffered a traumatic brain injury at a young age and as a result had been a resident in several group homes. She was assessed as needing 24/7 care in all activities of daily living but was allowed to smoke cigarettes on an outdoor deck unattended. One of the group home workers had left her alone on the outside deck. Cigarette ashes fell on her blanket, and the client was engulfed in flames. Ken asserted that she wasn’t appropriately assessed, should have been monitored while engaging in a potentially dangerous activity. The case, which included claims for conscious pain and suffering settled following mediation for $500,000.