Two years have passed since the highly unusual death of 28-year old Jennifer Strange from drinking too much water.
It was a case that rocked the legal landscape and rightfully so, as it involved a very unusual manner of wrongful death; death by consuming too much water, or water intoxication. “This isn’t something that happens too often, and this wrongful death left three young children without a mother, and a grieving husband behind,” said Daren Monroe, Litigation Funding Corporation, Southfield, Michigan.
It started out innocently enough when Jennifer entered a local radio station contest to win a Wii. The whole idea behind the contest was that those entered were to drink as much water as possible without urinating. If they won, they’d win a Nintendo Wii gaming console. What a perfect prize for Jennifer’s three kids.
The contest went as expected, with everyone drinking copious quantities of water. “Jennifer downed just about two gallons in just over three hours. She did so in good spirits, but did complain to the disc jockey’s that she was in pain,” Monroe added. She didn’t win the Nintendo Wii; she took second place and won a pair of concert tickets.
During the show there were a number of phone calls from listeners, issuing warnings that drinking too much water was dangerous and could cause death. Evidently at some point, one of the disc jockeys expressed awareness of the proposed danger, but contestants had signed a waiver, relieving the station of responsibility. After the contest was over, Jennifer left, called in sick to work, went home and died in her bathroom.
“When the case finally came to trial, two years later, plaintiff won a verdict in the amount of $16.5 million for Jennifer’s wrongful death,” explained Monroe. The husband expressed hope that the verdict will send a message to other corporations and to the public that this type of “accident” was preventable; the radio station had ample information about the possibility of water intoxication death, months prior to the contest, and proceeded anyway.
The defense suggested Jennifer should bear responsibility for knowing that drinking water, excessively, could be deadly. However, the plaintiff’s attorney pointed out she acted as any normal person would in the same situation. The jury found the phone calls to the station the most damning evidence against the station in reaching their decision to award damages to the plaintiff.
“Over the last two years, the victim’s husband has been taking life one day at a time, one step at a time. Trying to live without his wife and the mother of his three small children has been difficult to say the least. The family financial responsibilities had to be met; expenses for three small children are never ending,” added Monroe.
In other words, life goes on. The family had to struggle with funeral expenses while coping with the loss of a loving companion and parent. “It was a difficult time for them; lawsuit funding might have eased their financial burden during difficult financial and emotional times, while waiting for justice through settlement or jury verdict,” commented Daren Monroe, Litigation Funding Corporation, Southfield, Michigan.
People in situations similar to that faced by the Stranges may be eligible for cash advances against their personal injury or wrongful death cases. Litigation funding alleviates the pressure to settle early and cheaply; it gives the attorney precious time to pursue the case and ensure the fairest possible outcome for the plaintiff,” stated Monroe.