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Can you file a wrongful death lawsuit for a suicide?

When someone dies because of someone else's negligence, that deceased person's loved ones may file a wrongful death lawsuit against the negligent parties that caused that death. Often this scenario unfolds in the context of an accident, like a car accident, a construction accident, or another type of incident that could have been preventable but for the careless actions of the party being sued. But what about when a person commits suicide? When someone kills themselves, can another person or entity really be held liable?

In some cases, yes: parents of children who committed suicide after being bullied have filed lawsuits against the kids who did the bullying as well as the schools that may not have done enough to stop the bullying. Recently, parents of a child in Pennsylvania who committed suicide filed a lawsuit against both the school and five of their son's teachers. The plaintiffs allege that the school and the specific teachers named in the lawsuit failed to provide their son, who had ADHD, depression and anxiety, the oversight and education appropriate to his condition. The boy had been distraught over his slipping grades when he killed himself, and his teachers had failed to inform his parents of his academic difficulty.

Drug manufacturers that fail to make clear the risk that their drugs pose for suicide may also face lawsuits. Pfizer, for example, has been sued over its anti-smoking drug, Chantix, which has been shown to increase the risk of suicide in some patients.

If you've lost a loved one to suicide, and suspect that influence from a drug, a bully or another entity may have contributed to the death of your loved one, you may be able to access compensation from a wrongful death lawsuit. Contact an experienced attorney in your area to discuss what happened and explore your options.

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