Tragedy struck the Wheaton, Illinois community last weekend following an accident at a track meet at Wheaton College when a student was killed while volunteering for a hammer-throw event. The 19-year-old victim, from Cincinnati, Illinois was a freshman at Wheaton College, where he played on their soccer team. His parents were missionaries; as such, he spent much of his youth living in Zimbabwe.

The young man volunteered to help mark the distances of thrown hammers, and was standing near one of the landing zones when an errant throw hit him in the head during warmups. The hammer-throw involves throwing a ball attached to a steel wire that can weigh as much as 16 pounds.

Authorities have not fully ruled out criminal negligence, although according to the Wheaton Police Deputy Chief, evidence has not yet been found to suggest charges would be filed. The department is still investigating the death to make that determination.

While this may simply be a most unfortunate tragedy, if it turns out that negligence played a role in the accident, the family of the victim may be entitled to compensation in a wrongful death case. The family may want to consider filing a personal injury claim if such evidence is revealed following the police department’s investigation. Property owners are required to assure safe conditions, free of known hazards. In order to determine whether the accident is grounds for a potential case, it might be in the family’s best interest to speak with a personal injury attorney to review the case.

Source: AP, “Mason grad killed in track meet accident was ‘passionate about friends, Jesus’,” April 24, 2017