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Can You Sue Someone for Causing a Family Member’s Suicide?

Suicide affects families and communities on a profound scale. It seems as though almost anyone has the potential to take their own life - from the wealthiest individuals in New York right down to the poorest members of our society. Suicide can also come out of nowhere, affecting those who appeared to be completely happy and content just days before. No course of action can ever fix such a grave loss. But can families sue those who are responsible for causing suicide?

If you believe that your family member’s suicide was caused by the actions of another individual, you may have the opportunity to take legal action. In order to explore your options, it is best to enlist the help of a qualified, experienced attorney. We can guide you forward and help you seek justice.

Encouraging Suicide is Illegal in New York

New York has explicitly criminalized the act of encouraging or promoting suicide. If you intentionally cause or contribute to another person’s suicide, you may face a charge of “promoting a suicide attempt.” This is a Class E felony, and a conviction may result in four years in prison.

Other Forms of Legal Action

Criminal charges are not the only possible consequences a person might face if they are linked with someone else’s suicide. Personal injury lawsuits can occur after someone’s family takes legal action against a party that they believe contributed to their suicide. There are a number of examples of this.

In May of 2021, it was reported that the family of musician Chris Cornell was suing a doctor for prescribing him mind-altering drugs before his suicide. This falls under the category of a medical malpractice claim, since it involves the alleged negligence of a healthcare professional. Cornell’s doctor prescribed him over 900 doses of anti-anxiety medication without meeting with him in person 20 months prior to his death. The family alleges that the doctor should have known that Chris had a history of substance abuse, and that he had a tendency to suffer from the mild-altering side effects of the drugs.

In April of 2021, another doctor was sued after an inmate at a Michigan prison overdosed on anti-psychotic medication. She was given a “lethal dose” of Thorazine over the course of several days while locked in her cell, alone.

One of the most high-profile stories on this subject involves Alex Kearns, the 20-year-old college student who committed suicide after he was led to believe that he owed $730,000 to the online trading platform Robinhood. The communication he received from Robinhood was later determined to be a mistake, as Alex did not owe any money. However, the email caused him to commit suicide. Kearn’s family later sued Robinhood.

Enlist the Help of a Qualified Attorney Today

If you have been searching New York for a dependable attorney, look no further than The Glassman Law Group. We have considerable experience with wrongful death lawsuits, and we can help you take action. Those who cause people to take their own lives through negligent or criminal behavior should be held accountable. Reach out today, and we can develop an effective action plan together.

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