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$10.9 million wrongful death settlement for state trooper's death

The widow of an Illinois State Police trooper has settled a lawsuit for the wrongful death of her husband. The 28-year-old trooper was killed when a semi-truck struck the back of his patrol car, which was parked on the shoulder of Interstate 294 in March of last year. The settlement was actually agreed upon between the plaintiff and the defendants, but wasn't approved by the court until May 14.

The 26-year-old truck driver from Wisconsin was allegedly violating federal laws when he was working more than 14 hours without taking 10 hours of rest. The driver allegedly fell asleep at the wheel, crossing over onto the shoulder and crashing into the squad car. The trooper's car was immediately in flames, and the medical examiner said the trooper died from "thermal injuries" suffered in the crash.

The Wisconsin driver is currently facing charges for violating those federal safety laws. The driver was not the only one named in the lawsuit, though. United Van Lines LLC, Barrett Moving & Storage and Unigroup Inc., were also listed as defendants. The settlement was with all four defendants.

Attorneys for the trooper's widow say that the settlement award will give the man's family "a means to go on as they grieve." However, they also said that the "settlement will not bring [the trooper] back."

Wrongful death lawsuits attempt to hold individuals and entities responsible for accidents that took someone's life. Other claims may be filed in conjunction with the wrongful death claim, such as those for pain and suffering, loss of companionship and final expenses. Information about wrongful death lawsuits is best obtained from an experienced legal professional.

Source: Chicago Sun-Times, "Widow gets $10.9 mil. settlement after state trooper’s death" Maudlyne Ihejirika, May. 15, 2014

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