The family of a man killed in a car accident has filed a lawsuit against an emergency medical technician who took photos of the victim and circulated them to the public, reports The Charleston Gazette.
Jonathan Thomas was killed in Charleston, West Virginia, at the age of 30 after being stung by a bee while driving his UPS vehicle. The bee sting caused him to swerve the truck into a home, and he was pronounced dead at the scene.
Angel Willis, an emergency medical technician working for Quinwood Emergency Ambulance Inc., allegedly took photos of Thomas’ fatally injured body; injuries that were so graphic the family decided to keep the casket closed at Thomas’ funeral.
Thomas’ family filed a lawsuit in Greenbrier Circuit Court against the ambulance company and Willis, claiming that while there is no state law to stop the photographing of corpses, family members of the deceased should have privacy rights to restrict and control the exploitation of their loved ones.
The lawsuit alleges that Willis took photos of Thomas’ body with her cell phone purely for personal purposes, and then circulated those photos throughout the community.
A bill proposed by Delegate George Ambler earlier this year would have made it illegal to take photos of a deceased person, unless it was for the purpose of criminal justice or postmortem examinations. Violators of the law would have been charged with a misdemeanor and a fined somewhere between $50 and $500. The bill failed to pass through the committee.
We will keep you updated as this story unfolds.
Parrish Law Firm, PLLC car accident attorney works with Northern Virginia residents who have been injured in motor-vehicle accidents and are looking for fair compensation. Call us today at 703-906-4229 or fill out a free case consultation form.
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