Bradley Downing
Photo: Family photo
Photo: Family photo

Family of disabled Gwinnett man burned in bath water settles wrongful death suit  

The family of a disabled Lawrenceville man who died in 2018 after getting bathed in scalding water has settled its lawsuit against the at-home care company believed to be responsible.

Bradley Downing, 41, was a graduate of North Gwinnett High School, his family previously told AJC.com. He suffered a brain injury as a child that left him developmentally stunted and mostly non-verbal.

Despite those challenges, Downing competed in the Special Olympics, lived a good life and was relatively well-known in his community, his family said. He enjoyed opera, Broadway musicals and always had a contagious laugh.

That all changed in 2018 when his at-home caretaker bathed him in scalding water, according to a lawsuit filed last year in DeKalb County State Court. The suit alleged that Dunwoody-based Complete Care at Home was negligent and caused the wrongful death of Downing, who died several weeks later.

RELATED: ‘Scalding’ bath water caused disabled man’s death, lawsuit alleges

“She didn’t test the water temperature before starting to rinse him off,” attorney Lloyd Bell said previously. “He was severely burned across his upper torso.”

By the time the attendant realized her error, Downing suffered burns to much of his body, according to the lawsuit. He was taken to Grady Memorial Hospital but died of complications about six weeks later in a hospice unit. 

Downing’s mother settled her wrongful death lawsuit for an undisclosed sum, Bell announced Thursday.

“While I never had the privilege of meeting Bradley, I know he made a significant impact on the world,” Bell said in a statement. “No settlement amount can make this situation better or erase the pain felt by Ms. Downing in losing her son, but we hope this helps create closure for this chapter, and the freedom to move forward in celebration of Bradley and the richness of the life he lived.”

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