Has a Loved One Suffered a Wrongful Death in Chicago?
Some of the injury cases our law firm handles involve a death caused by a negligent party. If a person has died in an accident, the family of the deceased is likely entitled to compensation for their terrible loss. You will need the help of an experienced Chicago wrongful death lawyer. The lawyers at Abels & Annes, P.C. fight for accident and injury victims and their families every day. They may be able to help you obtain compensation for your loss.
A wrongful death is where the negligence or recklessness of a person or company are responsible for a fatal accident. The law in Illinois recognizes that when one person’s actions cost another his 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.
A Wrongful Death Could Be Caused by The Following:
- Auto Accident
- Premises Liability
- Work Injury
- Medical Malpractice
- Construction Accident
- Nursing Home Neglect or Abuse
- Other types of negligence
If an accident results in a fatality, a wrongful death claim may be brought by the family of the victim.
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 expense for a funeral. Part of this law firm’s job will be to recover expenses due 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 for the loss of no longer getting to spend and enjoy time with your family member.
- Loss of the future earnings of the deceased. Often the family member that dies was earning income. Family members were depending on that loved one to support the household. They have a right to recover that 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, lawyers will determine whether it is appropriate to ask for leave of Court 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.
Chicago Wrongful Death FAQs
Below we will provide answers to common questions 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….”. It could be a death resulting from a workplace accident, medical malpractice, a deliberate act, or a car accident due to negligence.
What is a wrongful death lawsuit?
A wrongful death lawsuit is a civil proceeding in which the deceased person’s family can recover financial damages for the losses they suffered.
Who can file a Chicago wrongful death lawsuit?
The personal representative of the decedent’s estate files the lawsuit. 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, the jury may award whatever damages are deemed fair and just. The statutes go further and 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.
Are there time limits as to when someone may file a wrongful death lawsuit in Chicago?
Yes. In general, plaintiffs must typically file a wrongful death lawsuit within two years of the death. There are one-year statutes 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 of the defendants is not always an easy task. For example, a distracted truck driver may directly cause an accident that resulted in injuries culminating in death. However, the trucking company that employed or failed to properly supervise, hire, or train a driver, can also face liability.
The best way to understand your options and legal rights is to contact a lawyer with 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 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. For example, prosecutors almost never file criminal charges in cases of medical malpractice.
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?
A wrongful death attorney can determine if the case meets the threshold for filing such a claim.
To prove a wrongful death claim you must establish:
- 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 incident and death.
What steps will a wrongful death lawyer take to prove a case?
While every case is different, in general, an attorney will analyze pertinent evidence, including police reports, information provided by any witnesses, medical records, etc. Keep in mind, 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.
Free Wrongful Death Case Consultation
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 financial relief that is available under local and state laws. After an accident, many families choose to speak with an wrongful death attorney in Chicago to learn whether they have a case.
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 all of our clients to try to obtain the maximum possible award. Call us today at (312) 924-7575 or toll free at (855) LAW-CHICAGO and let us provide you with a free consultation. There is no obligation on your part for taking 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.