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Update: Family of Boy Killed by Soccer Goal Awarded $1 Million

The family of an Arkansas fourth grader killed during an accident at school is asking for a legislative committee to hold the Department of Human Services (DHS) responsible.
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Update: The Legislative Joint Claims Committee has awarded the Nelson family has $1 million after Monday's hearing.

Original Story:
The family of an Arkansas fourth grader killed during an accident at school is asking for a legislative committee to hold the Department of Human Services (DHS) responsible.

Jonathan Nelson, 9, died after an non-anchored, homemade soccer goal fell on him during recess in 2011. The goal did not meet consumer product safety guidelines.

The Nelson family believes during safety inspections, DHS should have required the goal be removed, but never did.

On Monday, the Nelsons testified in a hearing just like they did back in December, but a decision was delayed. Lawmakers are the judge and jury in this case, because a state agency can't be sued in court.

The main question being asked is whether DHS failed to adequately conduct safety inspections that would have saved Jonathan's life.

DHS claims Jonathan wasn't a student in the DHS after school program, was killed on a playground not certified by DHS, and wasn't on the DHS program clock when the accident occurred.

The Nelsons' attorney says the first and third points are irrelevant, and the second point is plain untrue because they can't define the playground it certified as safe.

For Nathan Nelson, this marks the fourth time he's had to testify to a committee of strangers about the day he lost his son.

The family is asking for $3 million in damages, but Nelson told lawmakers there's a bigger cost at stake.

"His skull was crushed by the weight of the goal; his neck broken. And there's nothing I can do about that. So I'm doing the best I can to make sure it doesn't happen to somebody else's child, and to stand up for my son who  isn't here to stand up for himself," Nelson said.

The Nelsons may have concluded their wrongful death suit against the state, but they plan to continue fighting for Jonathan's Law to be strengthened.

Jonathan's Law was the state law passed after the boy's death, which requires soccer goals to be anchored according to consumer safety guidelines.
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