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North Carolina school agrees to settle wrongful death case

In 2009, a college student and athlete at Western Carolina University had suddenly died after working out. The student was on the school's football team and had participated in a voluntary workout the day of his death.

In 2011, the student's family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the school's athletic personnel, claiming that personnel could have taken measures to prevent the athlete's death. According to reports, the athlete's family and WCU finally reached a settlement in the case last week.

When a loved one dies after a motor vehicle accident or after some other type of serious accident, family members are often left wondering whether anything could have been done to prevent the fatal accident. When someone else's negligence does contribute to a fatal accident, North Carolina families may have every right to pursue a wrongful death claim.

By pursuing a wrongful death claim, families may be able to recover medical expenses, funeral expenses and damages for pain and suffering. Although many families hope that negligent parties will acknowledge that their actions caused fatal injuries, some wrongful death cases only result in compensation.

According to reports, the WCU student's family has agreed to drop their wrongful death lawsuit against the school. For two years the family has been requesting that the school's athletic personnel take partial responsibility for their son's death. The school and its personnel have admitted no fault, but reports have stated that the victim's family will receive $600,000 in compensation for their son's death.

Specifics about the case have not been included in recent reports regarding the family's decision to settle the case with WCU, but it appears that the family believed their son should not have been allowed to participate in a workout that ended up being too intense for his health. An autopsy had been performed after the WCU football player's death. The autopsy revealed the athlete died from exertion, complications from an enlarged heart and complications from sickle cell trait.

Source: Asheville Citizen-Times, "WCU, Smalls family settle wrongful death suit," Tyler Norris Goode, Dec. 28, 2012

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