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Overwork accused of causing nurse's fatal crash

The widower of a woman who worked as a nurse at Jewish Hospital in Kenwood, Ohio, is suing the hospital for his wife's fatal car accident. His theory is that the hospital increased the nurses' workload at the hospital while lowering the number of nurses employed, leading to overwork and fatigue. He believes that his wife fell asleep at the wheel while driving home from work, causing her accident and death.

In lawsuits over many Ohio car accidents, the defendants most often are the driver of one of the vehicles involved in a crash. This, however, is by no means universal, and it is not out of bounds to sue a third party who is not a motorist, but who is ultimately responsible for the injuries or deaths arising from an accident.

In some instances, for example, an auto manufacturer who marketed a defective vehicle or a mechanic who negligently repaired or serviced a car may be responsible for causing a crash. Similarly, a bar or restaurant that served liquor that resulted in a motorist intoxicated can, in appropriate circumstances, be sued for an ensuing crash. In this case, the theory put forward may be more unusual and inventive, but that does not mean that it is out of bounds.

Actions that can be seen to make an accident foreseeable can be a basis for liability when they are analyzed as the proximate cause of serious bodily injuries or deaths. The woman who died, in addition to being a nurse, a valuable member of the community who helped sick people, was a wife and the mother of two young children, making her untimely demise a terrible tragedy. Her vehicle went off the road, struck a culvert, was flung into the air, and ultimately hit a tree. Because there were no skid marks, her husband believes that she fell asleep as a result of overwork.

Source:, "Widower Sues Wife's Workplace After Crash" No author given, Nov. 11, 2013

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