Chicago Wrongful Death Lawyer
Losing someone you love is devastating regardless of the circumstance. The death of a spouse, parent, child, or another close family member leaves a hole in your life that is impossible to truly fill. You just do the best you can to move forward and live around the missing pieces, and eventually, time lessens the pain of your grief.
You are probably struggling with several aspects, relating to your loss and it is important to remember that in Illinois, when you lose a loved one through someone else’s negligence, recklessness, or malpractice, the law says you may be entitled to monetary compensation. It is important to discuss this and all your available options with a knowledgeable Chicago wrongful death lawyer.
To schedule a free, initial consultation with a compassionate Chicago wrongful death attorney with extensive experience handling wrongful death cases, call Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. at (312) 236-2900 today.
Wrongful Death and Survival Actions in Illinois
Our experienced wrongful death attorneys know that although nothing can bring your loved one back, the state of Illinois permits the receipt of monetary damages from the party or parties responsible for your loss. This is accomplished through a wrongful death claim that allows a spouse, child, or other next of kin to recover from the finical losses suffered by a death if it was caused by someone’s irresponsible behavior.
Separate from a “wrongful death claim,” a “survival action” may also be used to recoup financial compensation for damages that were incurred prior to your loved one’s death, such as pain and suffering. These are separate examples of claims, and your options should be assessed by a veteran wrongful death and personal injury lawyer.
Who May Make a Wrongful Death Claim?
Wrongful death actions in Illinois are largely governed by the Illinois Wrongful Death Act (740 ILCS 180). Primarily, this law indicates that a surviving spouse or any children are considered “next of kin,” therefore, are eligible to file a lawsuit and pursue compensation. If there are no surviving children or spouse, other close relatives such as siblings or parents can also file a lawsuit as a beneficiary.
The specific relationship of the beneficiary or the individual(s) filing the wrongful death action to the deceased becomes critically important in how the case moves forward and what types of financial compensation are available. For example, while a child or spouse may be entitled to certain damages relating to the long-term economic support provided by a lost loved one, these damages may not be available to a parent or sibling.
When Can I File a Lawsuit?
Wrongful death lawsuits can result from almost any tragic situation involving someone’s recklessness, carelessness or negligence. These can include:
- Fatal car accidents
- Truck collisions
- Medical malpractice
- Workplace accidents
- Premises liability
- Defective products
While many of these lawsuits are against individuals, corporations and government entities can likewise be held responsible if their behavior is also determined to be negligent or reckless and contributed to you loved one’s death.
In some situations, such as fatal car accidents caused by drunk driving, the at-fault individual’s conduct is also considered a criminal offense. Regardless of whether criminal charges are filed, your right to pursue a wrongful death claim will not be affected. Furthermore, a person’s criminal conviction or acquittal will not directly sway your case because civil matters have a different standard of proof; however, these potential outcomes can be used as evidence and in ongoing negotiations.
Is There a Statute of Limitations?
According to The Illinois Wrongful Death Act, a lawsuit must be filed within two years after the death. For instance, if your loved one underwent a surgery that resulted in complications that ultimately caused their death a year later, the statute of limitations would not begin until the date of your loved one’s death, not the date of the underlying operation.
That time limit may be tolled, or extended, in certain circumstances, including for child beneficiaries. If a child is under the age of 18 when their parent is wrongfully killed, they have two years after attainment of the age of 18 to bring a wrongful death lawsuit.
What Types of Compensation are Available
The death of someone close doesn’t just take an emotional toll on you and your family — there is often a financial impact as well. Sorting through insurance policies, bank statements, bills, titles, wills, and other various documents to figure out how your loss positions your family going forward is incredibly complex and often very difficult. With so many details to attend to, you may quickly become overwhelmed.
If your loved one contributed significantly toward your family’s finances, you may be worried about how the loss of that income will affect your future. You may be worried about medical bills incurred by your loved one before they passed away from their injuries. In such uncertain times, you may also be wondering about the possibility of pursuing a wrongful death claim and what that may do for your family.
Among the monetary damages you may be able to recover are:
- Funeral expenses
- Medical bills
- Loss of economic support
- Loss of inheritance
- Loss of consortium, companionship, or parental support
- Grief, sorrow, and mental suffering
Any damages obtained as part of a wrongful death case are typically dispersed to the in proportion to their reliance on the deceased for support. For example, a spouse who relied on the deceased for most their family’s income would likely receive a larger portion than a child who is out of the home and largely financially independent. However, there is no precise, scientific method for this allocation, so it is primarily left up to the court.
How a Chicago Wrongful Death Lawyer Can Help
At Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C., we’ve helped numerous families in the Chicago area to recover compensation for the wrongful death of a loved one. Our philosophy in wrongful death cases is that we’re here to help shoulder as much of the burdens as we can, so your family can focus on healing.
We can help determine liability for the accident or malpractice through investigations, gathering the necessary evidence to support your claim, explaining insurance policies and coverage, appealing disputed or denied insurance claims, negotiating settlements, and filing lawsuits in Illinois courts.
Our Chicago wrongful death lawyers have extensive experience in state and federal courts throughout Illinois, including Cook County, surrounding counties, and the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. We have tried various types of wrongful death cases and have successfully negotiated countless pre-trial settlements and obtained substantial jury verdicts.
Contact a Chicago Wrongful Death Attorney Today – Free Consults
The attorneys with Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. offer a free consultation during which we’ll explain what a wrongful death claim is, what types of compensation you may be able to recover, what your rights are as a wrongful death beneficiary, and what the process will be if you decide to pursue a claim.
We offer compassionate and knowledgeable representation in all types of wrongful death cases resulting from all types of personal injuries. We’ll be there every step of the way from the initial paperwork to a settlement or jury verdict.
Call us today at (312) 236-2900 for a free consultation with a highly-skilled Chicago wrongful death lawyer.