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North Carolina hotel experience could end in wrongful death claim

After a day of traveling, there is nothing more relaxing than settling down in a hotel room to recuperate. However, a stay at a North Carolina hotel ended in tragedy for two separate families. As more details of their experience become known, their surviving family members may decide to file a wrongful death case.

The problems at the hotel reportedly began in April 2013 when an older couple checked into a hotel. After they failed to meet family members for breakfast the next day, their bodies were discovered in their rooms. There were no indications of foul play, and the causes of their deaths were not determined until months later. At the time it was discovered, it was too late for a different family.

Months later, a mother and her 11-year-old son checked into the same hotel and were given the same room. The mother reports that she began to feel ill after a few hours in the room, but lost consciousness before she could seek help. Both the mother and son were discovered the next day by a maid, but the son had already died. It was later determined that all four people were victims of carbon monoxide poison as a result of pool heater located below the room.

Prosecutors have yet to determine whether criminal charges will be filed. However, blame could potentially be placed in several different places such as the hotel or anyone who serviced the heating system for the pool. Additionally, one of the families feel that the death of the young boy was a result of negligence on the part of the North Carolina system governing medical examiners. They feel that mistakes made by the medical examiner led to delays in pinpointing the cause of the first set of deaths, which resulted in a delay in identifying a hazard to public health.

While nothing can ease the pain of the loss of a loved one, the families of the victims in this case have the option of filing a wrongful death case in a North Carolina civil court. If they can prove the deaths were a result of negligence, the court could award a monetary award to the families to help them cope with funeral expenses and medical bills. Such an action would relieve the stress caused by the financial burdens created by the tragic deaths.

Source: The Seattle Times, Hotel room was death chamber for Wash. couple, boy, Elizabeth Leland, Dec. 20, 2013

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