What was supposed to be a five-day trip to North Korea turned deadly for University of Virginia college student Otto Warmbier. Detained by the North Korean government for 18 months (of a 15 year sentence) for "hostile acts against the State" for taking down a political propaganda poster in his hotel. After presidential involvement in his release, he was ultimately returned to his family in a coma before passing away. The Wambier family sued the country of North Korea for the wrongful death of their son and a Virginia judge has awarded them a $501 Million judgment.
Courthouse News quotes US District Judge Beryll Howell, "Before Otto traveled to North Korea on a five day trip, he was a healthy happy student of economics and business in his junior year at the University of Virginia, with "big dreams" and both the smarts and people skills to make him his high school salutatorian, homecoming king and prom king. He was blind, deaf and brain dead when the North Korean government turned him to the US government officials for his final trip home."
While the exact conditions Warmbier lived in during his detention in North Korea may never be known, some findings include: rearranged teeth, a large scar on his foot and medical confirmation that he was in a coma for at least a year. Warmbier died less than a week after he entered the US hospital upon his return home. Included in the $501 Million wrongful death judgment are medical costs, loss of income and $450 Million in punitive damages. Of course whether or not North Korea will pay this judgment is highly doubtful considering that they refused to participate in the international personal injury trial.
While this case is undoubtedly unique what is not is the exact stage the case is in now-- difficulty collecting a personal injury or wrongful death judgement. The easiest cases to collect money on are domestic (you are in the US suing someone in the US) in which the defendant carries an insurance policy to cover things like accidents, deaths and serious injuries. In these cases, the money is already there (to some extent) so it is a matter of paperwork at the end-- not always, but often.
When we take on Los Angeles personal injury and wrongful death cases, we work with you until we get you paid. We know the collection and enforcement aspect of a case is ultimately the most important and know how to get the defendant to pay you quickly. Are you dealing with the loss of a loved one or a personal injury? Give the talented team of lawyers at Walch Law a call today-- located in beautiful Calabasas, we take cases from all over California. We would love to help you get the money you deserve!