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Setting The Standard In Personal Injury Law

Illinois College wrongful death suit moved to school's county

The rules applicable to a liability lawsuit in state courts are dictated by laws of the location where the claim is filed. An out-of-state plaintiff who submits a wrongful death complaint in Chicago must abide by provisions of the Illinois Wrongful Death Act. Additionally, a defendant must retain an attorney who is licensed to practice within the state.

An out-of-state athlete died, after he was injured while competing at a sporting event at Illinois College. The pole vaulter's death generated a 2011 wrongful death action by the student's mother, who filed a claim in Cook County. A judge recently decided the case should be moved to Morgan County where, according to the college website, Illinois College is located.

The parent accused Illinois College and Grinnell College, her son's school, and three other defendants of negligence. The mother said the colleges never should have allowed her son to compete, because he suffered health problems in the days before the 2010 Midwest Conference Championships. The complaint also alleged the school athlete had difficulties with his pole vaulting technique, that should have excluded him from the competition.

Additionally, the lawsuit claimed the safety equipment used at the Illinois College event was inadequate and set up improperly. The pole vaulter tended to land to the right and did so at the Midwest Conference Championships during an 11-foot jump. The mats below the athlete collapsed and separated, causing the student to strike the back of his head against the hard ground.

The accident led to surgery, but the injury was fatal. The student died three days later at a Springfield hospital. His mother claims the defendants' carelessness contributed to her son's death.

Wrongful death plaintiffs must show that a defendant owed a decedent a duty of care and breached the duty. Compensation is awarded when a loved one's losses are linked to a defendant through the injured victim's death.

Source:  Journal-Courier, "Wrongful death claim against college, others moves to Morgan" Cody Bozarth, Mar. 27, 2014

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