Compensation for crash photos
Jury awards millions to widow of Kobe Bryant
25/08/2022 02:49 hrs
After the fatal helicopter crash of NBA superstar Kobe Bryant, emergency services are said to have “showed” photos of the accident site. On the other hand, widow Vanessa Bryant went to court – and was proved right. Los Angeles County must pay her and co-claimants damages.
A jury awarded Bryant’s widow and another victim $31 million in damages in the lawsuit for photos of the crash site following the death of American basketball star Kobe Bryant in a helicopter crash. The jury on Wednesday, after about four and a half hours of deliberation, ordered Los Angeles County to pay Vanessa Bryant $16 million. The jury awarded plaintiff Chris Chester, whose wife and daughter also died in the January 2020 helicopter crash, $15 million in damages.
The plaintiffs stated in their civil complaint that they experienced emotional distress as police officers and firefighters took photos of the crash site and later shared them with friends and other rescuers. According to Vanessa Bryant’s attorneys, at least 11 police officers and a dozen firefighters shared the photos in the 24 hours following the Jan. 26, 2020 accident.
In recent weeks, an employee of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Office has “shown off” the photos in a bar, the lawyers said. Another sent photos to a group of video game friends and a firefighter showed photos at an awards ceremony. The Los Angeles County defendant did not deny that the photos were taken. However, his lawyers argued that the images were never made public and have since been removed.
“It’s like Covid”
During the Los Angeles trial, however, Vanessa Bryant said she lived in fear that the recordings would find their way onto the internet and then spread further and further. “It’s like Covid,” the widow said in court last week. “Once it has spread, it cannot be reversed.” In a separate lawsuit, the relatives of other victims were awarded a total of $2.5 million in damages for the photos last year.
Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven other occupants were killed on January 26, 2020, when their helicopter crashed near Los Angeles. According to the investigation, the pilot of the helicopter apparently lost his way after falling into thick clouds.
Bryant is considered one of the greatest players in the history of the North American professional league NBA. He won five NBA championships with the Los Angeles Lakers in his 20-year career and won gold medals with the U.S. team at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics. In 2016, he ended his career.