A student at University of Massachusetts died after falling while walking with friends on November 16.
Her death has now been ruled an accident, after investigators looked into the cause, reports The Associated Press.
The woman, who remains unidentified out of respect for her family, suffered head injuries after falling on Fearing Street while walking with friends. According to reports, she had been drinking prior to the fall.
Officers responded to the scene at 11:45 in the evening and an Amherst Fire Department ambulance immediately transported the woman to Baystate Medical Center in Springfield.
The reason for the fall is still unknown and authorities are still unclear on how much alcohol played a role in her fall.
A determination of causation would be important, going forward, if the woman's family decides to sue for wrongful death.
There's little information on this story, as the family has requested that their daughter's name not be released. But looking at this case from a legal angle, it could have elements of a basic slip-and-fall based wrongful death action.
While private property owners aren't liable for injuries occurring on public streets, a municipality could be held liable for a slip-and-fall case, if they failed to adhere to the required level of responsibility. For example, if the woman tripped on a dangerous pot-hole, the city could he held liable, for the fact that they failed to adequately care for their streets.
Similarly, poor lighting could be another area where the city's liability could come up. But without knowing how much alcohol played a role, liability is difficult to determine.
Massachusetts bars recovery if the plaintiff's negligence is greater than the defendant's proportionate negligence. So if alcohol played the primary role in the fall, then a lawsuit would be futile.