Can heatstroke lead to a wrongful death case?

On Behalf of | Dec 29, 2021 | Wrongful Death |

Heatstroke can have mild to deadly results. There are circumstances where heatstroke leads to wrongful death. For example, a coach may be liable for wrongful death if a player suffers from heatstroke under their watch. A school or coach in Georgia who is in charge of sports players needs to have the proper safety precautions.

Parents suing Elite Scholars Academy staff

In 2019, a 16-year-old student passed away from heatstroke at Elite Scholars Academy in Clayton County. On Aug. 13, 2019, the student was doing mandatory conditioning drills when she collapsed while running up the stadium steps. It was about 98 degrees outside, and the defendants of the wrongful death lawsuit reportedly ignored early signs of heat illness. During practice, they kept having her perform the conditioning drills and were the ones who told her to run up the football stadium steps.

The student’s autopsy showed that she died of heatstroke from strenuous activity during extreme temperatures. The lawsuit claims that the defendants ignored the Clayton County Public School System’s Heat Index Policy and the mandated safety guidelines set by the Clayton County School Board. Staff members in the wrongful death lawsuit include the coach, the athletic director and the principal.

Lawsuits for heatstroke during sports

The three most common heat-related illnesses are dehydration, heat exhaustion and heatstroke. Signs of heatstroke include harsh breathing, wobbling or collapsing, hot and dry skin, higher body temperature convulsions and unconsciousness. Coaches or school staff members can be liable for wrongful death if a player dies of heatstroke under their supervision. If a coach is careful and follows all the regulations for high heat index situations, they should be able to keep their students safe.

Coaches and staff members can be liable for wrongful deaths after a player has heatstroke under their supervision. Other heat index guidelines include providing easy access to water, taking a player’s medical condition into account and not requiring the wearing of full uniforms.