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Athlete's 2010 wrongful death case transferred to another county


The loss of a loved one can usually brings grief, but that grief can be overwhelming if the death was avoidable. In Illinois, when a death is caused by someone else's negligence, such a loss may be the basis for a wrongful death lawsuit.

The mother of a man who died in a college track meet is still pursuing a lawsuit against the parties she holds responsible for her son's death, even though the venue for the case recently changed.

The case follows from a fatal accident in May 2010 when the woman's son, a Grinnell College sophomore, was competing in the pole vault event of the Midwest Conference Championships. The lawsuit contends that the student's injuries occurred because the landing mat had been improperly assembled and collapsed under his weight after he successfully cleared 11 feet on a jump. The mat threw him into an unprotected area beside the mat and the back of his head struck the ground. He died three days later. The lawsuit was initially filed in Cook County, but it was re-filed in Morgan County where Illinois College is located. The Midwest Athletic Conference and Grinnell College along with its board of trustees are also named as defendants in the case.

The lawsuit alleges that Grinnell did not prevent the athlete from competing despite recurring trouble with his technique and form. Illinois College, the site of the event, was named in the complaint for providing inadequate safety equipment. Two athletic equipment providers were cited as well. The lawsuit seeks $50,000 worth in damages.

Illinois residents who lose a loved one under similar circumstances can file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of a victim. Through such a suit, they may pursue compensation for financial costs resulting from the victim's death. Compensation sought may include recovery for expenses related to the victim's death, including in some cases loss of consortium. While no amount of money can truly make up for for the loss of a much-loved family member, it may go a long way to help bring a sense that justice has been done.

Source: Wlds.com, "2010 wrongful death case transferred to Morgan County," Jim McCabe, March 28, 2014

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