FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) --A family in mourning because of the deadly Skylife helicopter crash is now demanding payback from the people who owned the chopper.
Kyle Juarez was the paramedic on board the flight that crashed near McFarland last month, killing all four people on board. The NTSB is still investigating the crash and a preliminary report doesn't give any definitive answers about why the helicopter went down. But when it comes to this lawsuit, it might not matter.
Heartbreak overcame Brooke Juarez as she and her children walked out of funeral services for her husband, Kyle, on December 21. Two weeks earlier, the 37-year-old paramedic died while trying to save a life. Teacher Kathryn Brown had collapsed at Sunnyside Union elementary in Tulare County. Juarez teamed up with pilot Thomas Hampl and nurse Marco Lopez, to rush her from Porterville to Bakersfield-- only to crash less than 20 minutes into the flight. All four people on board died.
Juarez's wife and children have now filed a wrongful death lawsuit, blaming Rogers Helicopters -- the company that operates Skylife -- for his death. ABC30 legal analyst Tony Capozzi says the lawsuit -- and its claim of negligence by Rogers -- won't hinge on the results of the NTSB investigation into what caused the crash. "Here you have a helicopter that crashed on the way to a destination," Capozzi said. "Well, it speaks for itself. You expect to be delivered to the destination. You're not. It crashes. That itself shows negligence which then would put the liability on the helicopter service."
Capozzi says Rogers might argue it's not 100% responsible for the Juarez family's suffering. But there's not much question they have suffered. "How many times a day do you think of dad and he's not there?" Capozzi said. "Does it create that empty feeling in your stomach? The pains? How many times a day does that happen and what it's worth every time. That's what a jury will have to decide."
Action News reached out to the owners of Rogers Helicopters Thursday but never heard back from them.
The Juarez family lawyer also didn't have much to say. He told us the lawsuit speaks for itself.