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Victim’s Sister: Apology Is More Important Than Settlement

What is the purpose of wrongful death lawsuits? While some critics may argue that they are all about the money, those who have lost a loved one do to someone else’s negligence or carelessness understand that there is much more to it than that.

This week, the sister of Clarence Beard Junior won a $250,000 settlement regarding the death of Beard, who died of a heart attack while being restrained by police in Virginia in 2006. However, when speaking about her feelings on the wrongful death settlement through her lawyer, Mary Peterson said that the compensation wasn’t nearly as important as an apology from the city of Lynchburg and the feeling that justice was finally done.

In September 2006, police officers came to Beard’s door looking for a woman with several warrants. Beard attempted to stop the police from searching without a search warrant, and a fight broke out between the men. Beard was restrained out on the street, where he suffered a heart attack and stopped breathing. While some bystanders say that Beard was left to die even as witnesses pleaded with officers to call for help, the police claim that they attempted to revive the man and called an ambulance even before bringing him outside.

Peterson said that although research showed that the average wrongful death awards from juries are higher than the agreed settlement in cases like these, she appreciated that the settlement was coupled with an apology and the agreement with the city to clear her brother’s name of wrongdoing.
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