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By Jarome Gautreaux

A Georgia woman tragically lost her life while visiting Portland last year. June Sylvia Cole, 87 at the time of the incident, was walking through the automatic doors of her hotel while she was returning to her room. Suddenly the doors began sliding shut and struck her in their path. Cole fell to the ground and hit her head on the concrete outside of the hotel. She was rushed to a hospital, where she, unfortunately, lost her life. In the wake of the tragedy, the family has taken legal action.

The Lawsuit

Cole’s family has since filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the very hotel that they allege to be the cause of their loved one’s death. The lone defendant named in the suit is V and W Investments LLC, the owners and operators of the hotel. According to the lawsuit, the family seeks to place blame on the hotel for “defective” doors that shut on her while she was in their reach, as well as failing to provide Mrs. Cole with adequate attention and assistance with respect to her “age and infirmity.” The lawsuit further claims that the incident could have been prevented and was “foreseeable.” The lawsuit cites the fact that a number of elderly guests use these doors and “without clear sight, balance, or knowledge of automatic doors,” in an effort to show that this was an incident waiting to happen.

The family’s claim seeks damages totaling over $2.7 million in compensation for the event. The medical costs and funeral costs associated with the incident totaled approximately $23,000, an additional $250,000 was demanded as “a brief period of fear and hopelessness” that occurred when Cole was hit by the doors. Finally, the family demands $2.5 million for compensations for the loss of companionship, society, and services.

Wrongful Death Lawsuits

When an accident occurs that claims a person’s life, the family may have the grounds to file a wrongful death lawsuit. These cases often involve tragic situations, where a loved one is lost due to an accident that may have been prevented if greater care had been taken. A wrongful death lawsuit is often brought by the surviving family members or the estate of the deceased.

These lawsuits often make claims to both the medical costs and the funeral costs of the deceased, as seen in Mrs. Cole’s case. Wrongful death claims often involve many types of damages as well, such as loss of income for deceased individuals who supported the family, or a loss of companionship, as seen in this case, for the loss of individuals who may have held a strong place in a family’s hearts. While no amount of compensation can replace a loved one, legal action is often the most efficient way to send a message to prevent tragedies like this one from happening in the future.

About the Author
Jarome Gautreaux is a personal injury trial lawyer. He represents people who have been seriously injured, as well as the families of people killed because of carelessness or negligence. For over 20 years, he has successfully recovered more than 100 million dollars in a variety of Macon personal injury cases. Jarome’s reputation for client focus and case success has led to other lawyers requesting his assistance with complex personal injury litigation. What drives Jarome every day is his strong belief that the amount of money someone has should not dictate the justice they receive. It is for this reason that he has never worked for corporations, insurance companies, or other interest groups. Instead, he thrives on helping the people who need it most- people who have suffered at the hands of others and deserve compensation.