A West Virginia family is grieving the loss of their previous 8 year-old boy, Caleb Ray, after he suddenly collapsed on a soccer field in Lincoln County. The father was there by his side within seconds, and CPR was administered while the ambulance rushed to the scene. Unfortunately, Caleb could not be saved. The family has been quoted as believing that the cause of death was Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA).
The boy’s surviving parents describe the scene of the incident as being on a soccer field. Young Caleb was just starting the first practice session of his soccer season. Though the details have not been released, it appears that he had joined a little league team, and may have been on the premises owned either by the city, or a youth athletic organization.
It also appears there was no Automated External Defibrillator (or “AED”) present. These life-saving devices counter-act sudden cardiac arrest by delivering a shock to the heart that normalizes heart rhythms.
Why there may be a potential liability case
There maybe a potential liability case against the owner(s) of the field that the incident occurred on for not having an AED present. West Virginia state laws dictate how and when AEDs should be present and used. A theory of liability may lie in the statute.
West Virgina does have a Good Samaritan law, but that may only apply in situations in which an AED is used. Further, it is unclear on first reading of WV laws what facilities or organizations may by required to have an AED on site. If an AED was required, and one was not present when Caleb experienced SCA, the owners and/or managers of the property on which the incident occurred may be held liability.
The family is doing the right thing
The surviving parents are doing the right thing by advocating for the widespread adoption of AEDs. With an AED present, the chances for survival for a victim of SCA tops 90% when used within three minutes of the onset of the sudden attack.
The family has received donations to help buy AEDs to be present at youth sports games.
It is imperative that the family seek legal advice from an experienced law firm in this area of law. These consultations are completely confidential and free.
Craig M. Goldenfarb, Esq.
Founder / Critical Case Attorney
Craig M. Goldenfarb, Esq. has been practicing personal injury law, and specifically, AED litigation, for almost 20 years.
Mr. Goldenfarb is the former Chairperson of the AED Litigation Committee of the American Association of Justice (AAJ), a nationally recognized civil trial lawyers group.
Mr. Goldenfarb has represented dozens of families of victims of Sudden Cardiac Arrest in wrongful death litigation for incidents in which fatal SCA occurs and there is no AED available, or the AED malfunctions.
He is also the founder of Heart of the Game, a national 501(c)(3) non-profit dedicated to providing free AEDs and emergency medical training to recreational youth sports programs.