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Illinois widow awarded $3.35 million in wrongful death suit

After losing her husband unexpectedly and tragically, a woman in Illinois wanted answers. He was alone at work when he was killed, and his wife wanted to know what happened that night and who was responsible for his death. In order to do this, she filed a wrongful death lawsuit so that the conditions at the site could be explored and investigated thoroughly.

Her dedication to the pursuit of answers ultimately paid off. She learned what likely happened to her husband that terrible night and was awarded more than $3 million for her loss. This is believed to be the highest settlement for a male wrongful death lawsuit in Will County, where the accident took place.

According to reports, the man was working at an asphalt manufacturing plant where he was tasked with monitoring the flow of sand through a bin to the narrowed bottom. On the night he died, some of the sand was sticking to the sides of the bin and he radioed for some help in loosening the sand. While he was waiting, it is believed that he fell through a large grate in the catwalk above the bin and could not get out. He was found at the bottom of the bin.

The grate through which he fell was a safety violation, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. It was removable and too large, making it a hazard. The negligence by the employer proved to be fatal in this case. However, under Illinois law, the woman could not file a suit against the man's employer. Instead, she named the company responsible for manufacturing and selling the asphalt at the plant where he worked.

Her attorney was quick to point out that the woman did not file this lawsuit for the money, but she needed to know what happened to her husband. While neither money nor answers can bring him back, they can both give her the resources she needs to move on and cope with her loss.

Source: WLS, "Joliet company settles wrongful death suit for more than $3M," Nov. 3, 2012

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