$200,000 Settlement Reached in Death of Student


The family of a Blufton Middle School boy who died after a fight on campus reached a $200,000 wrongful death settlement with the school district and local government. Francisco Belman – 14, died in 2002, several months after being punched in the chest by two fellow students as part of a gang initiation. The two teens plead guilty to involuntary manslaughter and were sentenced to probation.

The loss of a loved one is a tragic occurrence that can turn the lives of the deceased families upside down. No dollar amount can be attached to a life, but when deaths occur due to the negligence of another person or entity, it is important to send a message to the negligent parties through litigation. In this case, the financial loss suffered by the school board may force stricter schoolyard rules and monitoring, preventing future injuries and loss of life.

A wrongful death claim allows the survivors of a wrongful death to ease their financial troubles as well as seek justice from wrongdoers. The family of the wronged person may ask for money that helps them ease the financial effects of their loved one’s premature death, such as funeral costs, medical bills, and a lifetime of lost wages. They may also ask for damages for non-economic harm, such as their loss of companionship, protection or care, mental anguish or pain and suffering. Under some circumstances, survivors of a wrongfully killed person can sue for exemplary damages (also called punitive damages) that punish a wrongdoer for recklessness, malice or willful acts.

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