Chicago Wrongful Death Lawyers

When You Need a Wrongful Death Lawyer in Chicago, Trust the Compassionate Team at Abels & Annes

As wrongful death attorneys in Chicago, some of the most heartwrenching injury cases we handle involve a death caused by a negligent party. If you lost a loved one in an accident, family members are likely entitled to compensation for your terrible loss. To ensure you and your family receives the compensation you deserve, you will need the help of an experienced Chicago wrongful death lawyer.

The tenacious legal team at Abels & Annes, P.C. has the skills to fight for accident and injury victims and their families every day. We may be able to help you obtain compensation for your loss. Reach out today for a no-obligation, free consultation to learn more.

Our Results in Wrongful Death and Injury Claims

A wrongful death occurs when the negligence or recklessness of a person or company is responsible for a fatal accident. The law in Illinois recognizes that when one person's actions take another's life, the responsible individual should be legally liable to pay damages to the victim's family. This means that when a family member dies in an accident, the surviving family members may be entitled to bring a civil claim against those responsible for the accident.

Our law firm has obtained many successful settlements for injured loved ones or grieving families, including:

  • $3 million after a catastrophic motorcycle accident
  • $600,000 for a catastrophic auto accident
  • $600,000 for a pedestrian with severe injuries

When an accident victim survives, we are prepared to bring a personal injury claim to help them receive financial compensation to cover expenses and other losses. When a family loses a loved one in an accident caused by a negligent person, our firm is able to help the surviving family members cover expenses and move forward financially. Reach out today for more information.

What is Wrongful Death in Illinois?

Wrongful Death Attorneys

Wrongful death is a legal term to describe the death of a person due to negligent or intentional actions by another entity or individual. In a wrongful death claim, multiple parties can file a claim for compensation.

Of course, the death of a loved one results in more than monetary losses, and we will account for the emotional distress placed on the family along with the financial stress. An economic recovery can help reduce the burden the family has to bear as a result of this loss.

Do not wait for the insurance company or other party to reach out to you and offer monetary compensation; these entities do not have your best interests in mind. Instead, contact our Chicago wrongful death lawyers to discuss your legal options. We can explain whether you have a valid wrongful death claim and begin the process of seeking justice for your loved one.

How Do Wrongful Deaths Occur?

Many situations can lead to the wrongful death of a family member. To bring a wrongful death claim, the death must be caused by someone's negligent, careless, or intentional acts. Some of the most common scenarios that can lead to a wrongful death include the following:

If an accident results in a fatality, a wrongful death claim may be brought by the family of the victim.

Common Types of Cases that Lead to Wrongful Death Claims in Chicago

Some of the most common types of cases that lead to wrongful death are car accidents, slips and falls, workplace accidents, and medical malpractice. Let's look at each of these negligent situations in more detail.

When a Car Accident Causes Wrongful Death

Losing a family member to a car accident is devastating. And it can be emotionally challenging to consider what you should do next when you are so early in the grieving process. However, some people report that filing a lawsuit helped to give them peace of mind since they had one less thing to worry about. A wrongful death claim means that someone is protecting your rights and seeking justice for a deceased relative.

A car accident that causes a wrongful death can leave a family with significant stress about paying back medical bills, handling funeral costs, and losing income from a primary provider.  The team at Abels & Annes can help ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve for medical bills, lost income, loss of consortium, and pain and suffering.

Wrongful death caused by a car accident can occur at the scene of the accident or later on when the victim succumbs to their injuries. Although fatal car accidents are often caused by drunk drivers, distracted drivers, and speeding, almost any type of car accident can cause a fatal collision.

Some of the most common injuries from car accidents that later lead to wrongful death are traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and internal injuries. If your loved one passes away from complications due to their injury, it still falls under the umbrella of wrongful death. As such, the at-fault party can still be sued for their negligence.

Wrongful Death Due to Slip and Fall Accidents

Slip and fall accidents are rarely considered a deadly type of accident. However, a fall can be deadly, especially if the person's head strikes the ground or another hard surface.

Slip and fall accidents can occur almost anywhere. Some of the most common places where slip and falls occur are grocery stores, commercial businesses, apartment complexes, parking lots, and places of work. A wrongful death claim may be pursued differently depending on where the accident occurred.  For example, cases against large commercial businesses differ in the legal and insurance claim process compared to slip and fall deaths that occur at a private residence.

Slip and fall accidents can also be deadly when they involve an elderly person. A slip and fall can put severe physical strain on an older person that they may never recover from. When you are in the later stages of life and all of a sudden you have to be bedridden for a long period of time, your chances of recovering completely are much slimmer. In fact, falls are the leading cause of injury-related death for adults aged 65 and older.

Workplace Wrongful Death

Deaths that occur in a workplace are especially common in high-risk industries such as:

  • Construction
  • Oil Fields
  • Logging
  • Fishing
  • Roofing
  • Trash and Recyclables Collecting
  • Delivery and Truck Driving
  • Farming

Workplace accidents that most commonly lead to deaths include:

  • Falls from heights
  • Fire and explosions
  • Malfunctions or errors with equipment
  • Vehicle accidents
  • Exposure to harmful substances or environments
  • Accidents caused by improper training

In these cases, determining if there is any third-party liability for negligence depends on how the accident occurred. If your loved one passed away because of the negligent conduct of a worker from a different company, that worker or that other company could be held liable for damages. However, generally, if a death or injury occurs at the workplace or while the employee is “on the clock”, the case would fall under workers’ compensation insurance coverage.

Wrongful Death Because of Medical Malpractice

Wrongful death because of medical malpractice is one of the trickier claims in personal injury law. Because of this, you want to ensure you have a qualified attorney on your side when dealing with any medical malpractice.

Medical malpractice that can cause a wrongful death includes:

If someone you love passes away because of the negligence of a doctor, nurse, or healthcare facility, contact a wrongful death attorney in our Chicago office as soon as possible so we can begin to investigate and build your case.

Severe Injuries That Can Lead to Death

Various different injuries can cause a person to die in a manner that qualifies as a wrongful death. Some of the most common include traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, and internal injury.

Traumatic Brain Injury

Traumatic brain injury, or TBI, occurs when the head is struck with great force or penetrated. This can occur in car accidents, slip and fall incidents, and workplace accidents. Since the brain is one of the most imperative organs to life, any damage can potentially be fatal. Some brain injuries kill the victim immediately while others cause irreparable harm that the victim can never recover from.

Spinal Cord Injury

Spinal cord injuries occur when the spine is struck or twisted in a way that causes damage to the vertebrae, spinal cord, muscles, nerves, or ligaments. The most severe spinal cord injuries often cause some type of paralysis. However, some serious spinal cord injuries can cause a person to go into a coma or vegetative state, especially if the damage occurs near the brain stem.

Internal Injury

Internal injuries most commonly refer to internal damage to the organs or internal bleeding in the body. When a vital organ is damaged beyond repair, it is possible for the victim to lose their life due to organ failure, blood loss, or other factors related to the injury. Likewise, internal bleeding can be so severe that the victim never recovers. Oftentimes, deaths related to internal injuries occur because of serious complications or coexisting injuries.

Compensation in a Wrongful Death Case

Family members may be entitled to recover for several types of damages and losses from a wrongful death in Chicago, including:

  • The pain, suffering, and grief of the surviving family members. There is not a more difficult time in life than when you lose someone you love. The feelings and pain you may experience can be unbearable. We understand that no amount of money will make you feel whole again. However, the family members have a right to a monetary recovery for the pain of going through this tragic experience.
  • Funeral expenses. Almost immediately after a tragic loss, family members have to incur significant expenses for a funeral. Part of our job will be to recover expenses related to the funeral.
  • Medical bills and expenses. In many wrongful death cases, the medical bills before passing away can be extremely expensive. Often, billing may exceed several hundred thousand dollars. Our law firm will work to recover those expenses from the negligent party.
  • Loss of consortium. You have a right to recover compensation for the loss of no longer spending and enjoying time with your lost family member.
  • Loss of the future earnings of the deceased. Often, the family member who died was earning income. Family members depended on that loved one to support the household. They have a right to recover for their loss of future income. If necessary, our law firm could retain an economist to determine what amount your family member would have earned during the rest of his or her life.
  • Punitive damages. During a wrongful death case, our dedicated injury lawyers will determine whether you have the right to file a punitive damages count in the lawsuit. Punitive damages are intended to punish the at-fault party for intentional and/or outrageous conduct.

How Do Chicago Wrongful Death Lawyers Prove a Negligent Death Claim?

The surviving family members should work with an experienced wrongful death attorney in Chicago who can help prove several elements to get compensation for the death of their loved one.

For a successful wrongful death claim, we need to establish:

  • The at-fault party (the defendant) owed the deceased a legal duty
  • The defendant did not maintain that duty
  • The defendant's negligent actions resulted in the death
  • The death resulted in losses to the victim and their surviving family

While it might be obvious to you that someone else caused your loved one’s death, the law does not simply take your word. Instead, you need a skilled wrongful death attorney to gather and present the evidence needed to prove all necessary elements of your wrongful death claim.


Chicago Wrongful Death FAQs

Below, our compassionate legal team answers many of the common questions we receive regarding wrongful death claims.

What is wrongful death?

Illinois Compiled Statutes, specifically 740 ILCS 180 (or the Wrongful Death Act), states that wrongful death occurs “Whenever the death of a person shall be caused by wrongful act, neglect or default, and the act, neglect or default is such as would if death had not ensued, have entitled the party injured to maintain an action and recover damages....”. Wrongful death can result from a workplace accident, a deliberate act, a car accident, or many other situations that involve negligence.

What is a wrongful death lawsuit?

A wrongful death lawsuit is a civil proceeding in which the deceased person’s family can request financial damages for the losses they suffered due to someone's death.

Who can file a Chicago wrongful death lawsuit?

The personal representative of the decedent’s estate can file a wrongful death lawsuit in Chicago. Further, the beneficiaries of the estate receive the funds if the lawsuit is successful. If the deceased person had not named an executor, the court may appoint a personal representative.

What compensation can the estate claim in wrongful death lawsuits?

Under Illinois statutes 740 ILCS 180/2, a jury may award whatever damages are deemed fair and just. The statutes also state the lawsuit may claim settlement amounts “including damages for grief, sorrow, and mental suffering, to the surviving spouse and next of kin of such deceased person.” A suit may also include medical costs to care for a loved one before death, the costs associated with funeral and burial expenses, and, potentially, the loss of future wages.

Is there a time limit to file a wrongful death lawsuit in Chicago?

Yes. In general, plaintiffs must typically file a wrongful death lawsuit within two years of the death.  One-year deadlines may apply for certain defendants, so it is best to consult with an attorney as soon as possible.

Who can plaintiffs sue for wrongful death?

Any person or company responsible for a death may face a lawsuit for wrongful death. However, determining the identity of all possible defendants is not always an easy task. For example, a distracted truck driver may directly cause an accident that results in injuries culminating in death. However, the trucking company that employed or failed to properly supervise, hire, or train that driver can also face liability.

The best way to understand your options and legal rights is to contact a lawyer with solid experience handling wrongful death claims.

What if the responsible party faces outstanding criminal charges?

A guilty verdict in a criminal trial can help demonstrate negligence in a civil case but isn’t necessary, and the criminal verdict is inadmissible. However, a plea of guilt can be admissible in a civil matter. That being said, plaintiffs can prevail in civil wrongful death claims even if the defendant never faces criminal charges.

Even if the person who causes a death is currently facing criminal charges or was found not guilty on a criminal charge, the personal representative can still file a civil wrongful death lawsuit.

How do you prove a wrongful death claim in Chicago?

In Illinois, the surviving family members of a person killed by a wrongful act have legal recourse under what is known as the Wrongful Death Act. A wrongful death attorney can determine if the case meets the threshold for filing such a claim.

To prove a wrongful death claim, we must establish the following:

  • A duty to the accident victim
  • That the defendant(s) breached that duty
  • The death was due to the negligent behavior of the defendant or defendants
  • The death caused damages to the victim and the members of the victim’s family, such as medical bills, funeral expenses, loss of future income, and pain and suffering between the time of the incident and death.

What steps will a wrongful death lawyer take to prove a case?

While every case is different, a dedicated wrongful death attorney will generally analyze pertinent evidence, including police reports, information provided by any witnesses, medical records, etc. Keep in mind that the type and manner of death that occurred may dictate what type of evidence is available to prove a wrongful death claim.

Do I have to hire an attorney to file a wrongful death lawsuit?

In reality, yes. The responsible party or parties, their attorneys, and, in most cases, their insurance company will mount challenges to your lawsuit. A wrongful death lawyer will know how best to overcome those challenges and seek the compensation you deserve for the loss of your loved one.

Filing a wrongful death claim will not bring a loved one back, nor will any amount of a monetary award truly compensate you for your loss. However, a settlement can help ease the financial burden of a family. This is particularly true when negligent or deliberate behavior is the cause of the accident. Anyone who is dealing with this type of loss and believes they may have a civil claim should consider contacting a Chicago wrongful death lawyer to discuss the particulars of their case and determine their options.

Trust the Chicago Wrongful Death Lawyers at Abels & Annes to Handle Your Family's Claim

No amount of money can properly compensate an accident victim's family after a fatality due to negligence or recklessness. However, these family members deserve the financial relief available under local and state laws. After an accident that took the life of your loved one, speak with a wrongful death attorney in Chicago to learn about your rights.

The type of accident can affect what means of recovery are available to a family and how soon those claims must be pursued. For these reasons, it is a good idea to seek legal counsel as soon as possible after a fatality.

The Chicago personal injury lawyers at Abels & Annes, P.C. believe that the family members of those killed by negligence deserve to have a skilled advocate on their side. We provide our experience to our clients in order to obtain the maximum possible award. Call us today at (312) 924-7575 or toll-free at (855) LAW-CHICAGO for a free consultation. There is no obligation on your part to take advantage of the consultation. Further, if we take your case, we will never charge a fee unless a financial recovery is made on your behalf. Do not let your family continue to suffer after a deadly accident. Call us today, and let us help you.

If you believe a negligent party may have caused a wrongful death of a family member in the Chicago area, Contact us for a free Wrongful Death case consultation or call (312) 924-7575 to speak with a wrongful death lawyer in Chicago.


Address: 100 N LaSalle St #1710,
Chicago, IL 60602

Phone: (312) 924-7575
Fax: (855) 529-2442