Wrongful Death

Damages in Wrongful Death Claim

If you believe your loved one’s death was someone else’s fault, talk with a lawyer as soon as possible. A Chicago wrongful death attorney can explain Illinois’ wrongful death and survival claims law. If you and your family have a valid claim, Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C., will guide you through the insurance claim and litigation processes. We’ll work with you to gather evidence of your family’s financial and non-economic injuries, and we’ll fight for you to receive maximum compensation for your damages. Call us today at (312) 236-2900 or use our online form to request a free consultation.

Illinois Wrongful Death Law

Illinois’ wrongful death statute says a jury can give the surviving spouse and other relatives damages that are fair and just compensation for their pecuniary (monetary) injuries, including damages for the grief, sorrow, and mental suffering of the surviving relatives. Pecuniary injuries can include any money, goods, benefits, services, or society that you and other relatives would’ve received from the decedent. Society is defined as the mutual benefit family members receive from each other, including love, affection, attention, companionship, comfort, guidance, and protection.

But if your loved one didn’t leave behind a surviving spouse or next of kin, then there are limitations on the damages. The personal representative can demand compensation for the expenses paid for by the decedent’s estate. Or, if another person paid for medical expenses, they could receive some reimbursement.

There’s a Presumption of Damages

In Illinois wrongful death lawsuits, there’s a presumption that a surviving spouse, children, and the next of kin suffered monetary losses as the result of the death. If the jury finds the defendant is liable for the death, then it’s presumed you should receive compensation. The defendant would have to overcome that assumption for you to be denied compensation.

Funeral and Burial Expenses

The surviving family or estate can demand compensation for the costs associated with placing their loved one at rest, whether through a traditional burial or cremation. They also can demand compensation for the cost of a funeral or other ceremony. Your lawyer will help you gather the bills and receipts to calculate the cost of the funeral and burial.

Medical Bills

When surviving family members or the decedent’s estate are responsible for medical bills, they can demand compensation for all medical expenses related to the accident that led to your loved one’s death. This is a straightforward calculation, though it will take time to get all of the bills from the health care providers. Your lawyers can help you gather this information and deal with the bills while you’re pursuing a settlement or court award.

Loss of Economic Support

In many circumstances, the loss of a relative is the loss of an income. The surviving spouse and children can demand compensation for the loss of this financial support. Your lawyer can help you calculate the income you’ve already lost, as well as the income you won’t receive in the coming years. You might benefit from retaining an economic expert to calculate the future income your family lost because of your loved one’s death.

Loss of Household Support

Losing a spouse or parent means losing someone who helped maintain the household. For example, if you lost your spouse who was a stay-at-home parent, you might no longer have the benefit of their meal planning, grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, and looking after the children. Even though your spouse wasn’t currently working, their services were invaluable. You can demand compensation for the services you now have to replace, including childcare.

Loss of Inheritance

If you would have expected to inherit money or property if your loved one lived into old age, you can demand compensation for the loss of your inheritance. Your lawyer might recommend working with an expert to calculate the potential future inheritance.

Loss of Spousal Relationship

You have a right to compensation for the loss of your marriage. This is known as loss of consortium. Unlike medical expenses and burial costs, you can’t calculate an objective sum for this injury. Your lawyer will help you determine the value of this and other non-economic damages.

Loss of Parental Guidance

Surviving children can demand compensation for the loss of parental instruction, moral training, and other guidance that they would have received from the deceased parent. Children of any age can demand compensation for the wrongful death of a parent, but young children who will miss out on essential parenting might be able to demand more.

Loss of a Minor Child

Parents can recover compensation for the loss of a minor child, including an unborn child that was viable at the time of the accident. This is a loss of society, not income. But your losses related to a minor child will be reduced by the costs you would have paid had they lived.

Grief, Sorrow, Mental Suffering

As a surviving spouse, child, or parent, you can demand compensation for your own suffering, including your grief and mental anguish.

Factors that Impact Wrongful Death Damages

When a jury is deciding the amount of wrongful death damages to award, they consider the amount you’ve already lost and the amount you’ll lose out on in the future. When figuring out the value of your future economic losses, they’ll consider the decedent’s age, sex, health, habits, occupation, and more. The jury has to consider how long your loved one would have lived and how long you’re likely to live based on the evidence presented at trial.

To get the most compensation possible, your lawyer might hire an expert to testify regarding your loved one’s earning potential and your future losses. The expert also will testify about the present cash value of your future losses.

Learn More About Wrongful Death Damages in Illinois

When you want to pursue a wrongful death insurance claim or lawsuit in Illinois, talk with a lawyer about your family’s damages. The value of your claim depends on many factors. An attorney from Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C., will discuss damages allowed in Illinois and the factors that increase or decrease what your case is worth. Use our online form or call (312) 236-2900 to schedule your free consultation.

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(312) 236-2900
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