Fatal Party Punch – Accident or Chicago Wrongful Death?

Chicago personal injury attorneys would define Chicago wrongful death as an individual’s death resulting from a willful or negligent act of another person. Last fall, a party wager gone wrong left one young man dead, and a young woman is now facing charges.

According to the Chicago Tribune, “A Will County judge this morning declined to drop criminal charges against a Joliet woman who fatally punched a man who took a $5 party game bet last fall.” The woman, Tiffany Startz, is charged with felony reckless conduct and battery charges. She has not been charged with Chicago wrongful death.

The victim, John Powell, was hired to perform with his rap group at a party that Tiffany Startz attended. During the party, the host offered $5 to anyone who would let the woman punch them in the face. Powell accepted the wager and Startz punched him in the face.

Unfortunately, “the impact of the punch ruptured an artery in Powell’s neck, causing blood to pool around his brain and leading to his death soon after at Provena St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Joliet, said Will County Coroner Patrick O’Neil.”

Additionally, a police investigation into the matter found that the party attendees did not immediately call 911; instead, they allowed underage partygoers to leave the premises and the remaining individuals to come up with a story (which did not include the punch) regarding the incident.

The young man’s mother is understandably upset by the entire situation, and relieved that Startz will face the charges against her. The defense had requested that charges against Startz be dropped because the punch was consensual.

It is possible that the young man’s mother could consider pursuing a case of Chicago wrongful death in this situation. A Chicago personal injury attorney can tell you that to pursue a wrongful death claim in Illinois, family member(s) must prove that the liable party did in fact cause the death and, had the victim lived, he or she would have been able to file a personal injury claim for the injuries sustained from the accident.

If you or a family member has been hurt or killed as a result of another person’s negligence, speak with a Chicago personal injury attorney right away. While no amount of money can ever undo the damage, it is possible to be awarded compensation to help your loved one and your family cope with the subsequent financial hardships.