Unfortunately, car accidents are one of the leading causes of death in the United States. This is a sad fact of life in a society that is built around private vehicle transportation. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration statistics reflect that 924 fatalities occurred as a result of car accidents in Illinois in 2014. This was a reduction from 2013 when there were 991 traffic fatalities. Nevertheless, and despite this reduction in traffic fatalities between 2013 and 2014, this equates to 7.17 people killed out of every 100,000 residents of Illinois who were killed in traffic accidents in 2014 alone.
Traffic fatalities are always tragic and have devastating effects on the families of those who have lost a loved one. A spouse may be without her husband, children may be forced to grow up without one of their parents, and families may find themselves torn apart.
In addition to these emotional consequences, a traffic fatality can cause economic ruin for those left behind because a family may be without its primary breadwinner. A single parent may be forced to go back to work or send the children to different schools than they previously attended because he or she can no longer afford tuition and fees at the children’s old school. A family may be forced to uproot their lives and move to a different, cheaper house or apartment because they can no longer afford the rent or mortgage where they lived prior to the traffic fatality. Finally, a spouse whose significant other is killed in a car accident may be forced to delay retirement or sell possessions to make ends meet. All in all, a traffic fatality can be a devastating event for those who are left behind from both an emotional and financial perspective.
To address the devastating economic and financial effects that a traffic fatality can cause for those left behind to pick up the wreckage of their lives, Illinois law is designed to compensate those who have suffered a wrongful death in a car accident with a host of damages. With respect to damages recoverable in a wrongful death proceeding in Illinois, a spouse and the next of kin of the decedent can recover for both economic as well as non-economic damages. Economic damages cover such things as funeral and burial expenses, any hospital bills or other medical expenses that were incurred for treatment that the deceased person might have undergone as a result of their injuries suffered in the car accident that was the cause of their death prior to their passing away, and other losses that a spouse or next of kin has suffered as a result of the decedent’s death. This would also include the decedent’s economic contributions to his or her family, including any future salary or wages he or she would have earned and thus contributed to the family absent his or her death in the car accident. According to Illinois law, non-economic damages available in a wrongful death action are those that a jury determines to be “fair and just compensation” for the “grief, sorrow, and mental suffering” of the surviving spouse and next of kin of someone who has been killed in a car accident.
If your spouse, relative or loved one has been killed in a car accident, then please accept the sincere condolences of the experienced attorneys at Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C.. This is a terribly difficult time and we understand that your focus may not be on pursuing your legal remedies but we are here to help you handle that part of putting your life back together.
We will fight hard for you to recover all the available damages for recovery under Illinois law for your wrongful death claim related to a car accident. If a loved one or member of your family has been killed in a car accident, please call the experienced car accident and wrongful death attorneys at Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. today for a free consultation with one of our lawyers at (312) 236-2900.