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Wrongful Death

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Our Wrongful Death Attorneys Help Families Achieve Justice Through Wrongful Death Lawsuits

If you lost a loved one in a fatal accident, our wrongful death attorneys can help you hold negligent parties accountable. Navigating loss places a heavy emotional burden on grieving families. When a household member passes away suddenly, families typically face additional financial stress, further contributing to the hardship surviving victims endure. When loss is caused by the negligence of another party, individuals can feel overwhelmed by compounding the legal process with grief. A wrongful death lawyer can help grieving families find financial stability, guide surviving loved ones through the claims process, and help bring at-fault parties to justice.

If you’ve lost a loved one due to another party’s negligence, you have rights. Contact our wrongful death attorneys online or call (312) 609-0400 to schedule a free consultation.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?

A wrongful death claim must be brought by a representative or executor of the decedent’s estate. Typically, this is a surviving family member of the decedent. If the decedent did not appoint an executor for his or her estate, the courts may appoint one on his or her behalf. In Illinois, there are restrictions on who can serve as an executor to an estate.

Basic Requirements for Executors in Illinois

Individuals who wish to act as an executor to a loved one’s estate must be at least 18 years of age. They must also be lawful United States residents and of sound mind as determined by the court. Persons with felony charges are not eligible to act as estate executors in Illinois.

Additional Restrictions for Illinois Executors

In addition to meeting basic state requirements, Illinois will reject executors who are categorized as a “disabled person.” Individuals are considered a disabled person if:
- They have a mental or physical incapacity that prevents them from caring for themselves
- They are diagnosed with fetal alcohol syndrome
- They are unable to provide for themselves or dependents due to alcohol or drug addiction, gambling addiction, being “idle,” or engaging in reckless behavior.

What Constitutes a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

A wrongful death lawsuit is a claim brought against a negligent entity or liable party following a fatal accident or injury. Wrongful death claims allow grieving dependents to recover financial losses and hold liable parties accountable. These claims typically arise in circumstances where the decedent would have had grounds for a personal injury lawsuit if he or she had survived.

Fatal injuries that give rise to a wrongful death lawsuit can be caused by negligence, or by intentional actions. A fatal car accident involving a drunk, incapacitated, or distracted driver would yield a wrongful death lawsuit on the basis of the liable party’s negligence. The intentional killing of a victim may also provide grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit.

Damages Recoverable in Wrongful Death Claims

Damages in a wrongful death lawsuit typically compensate for two things: damages suffered by the decedent prior to death and damages accrued by the decedent’s loved one after the fatal accident. Plaintiffs generally recover economic damages, non-economic damages, and, in some cases, punitive damages.

Economic Damages

Economic damages typically represent financial support the decedent would have contributed to surviving loved ones and costs associated with the injury or loss. These include loss of expected income, costs for medical treatment prior to death, funeral and burial costs, and other damages the decedent would have been awarded in a personal injury claim.

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages represent losses suffered by family members that don’t carry a direct monetary value. These often include pain and suffering of survivors, the decedent’s pain and suffering prior to death, loss of counsel, loss of consortium, emotional anguish, and loss of care and guidance that the deceased would have provided.

Punitive Damages

In cases where fatal injuries resulted from malicious acts or egregiously negligent behavior, surviving victims can pursue punitive damages. Punitive damages are intended as a punishment against the liable party or entity.

Top Causes of Wrongful Death Lawsuits

Fatal injuries can occur from a variety of circumstances. The most common causes for wrongful death lawsuits are:

Recovering Damages Through a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Illinois

Loved ones of a deceased victim must meet a burden of proof in order to recover damages. For cases involving negligent actions, the claimant must show:

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“I lost my husband last year due to a work related accident, he was a truck driver, although I waited a year to decide to get helped. I can not thank you enough. They are amazing ! I can’t wait to tell people. When it comes to workers compensation issues , they are above and beyond!! Thank You Lindsey Strom and Kevin Yen for helping me and my family getting the help we deserved.”

~ Helen Amador

FAQs About Wrongful Death Lawsuits

What damages can I recover in a wrongful death lawsuit?

Surviving victims seeking to recover damages through a wrongful death lawsuit can recover economic, non-economic, and, in certain cases, punitive damages. Economic damages represent losses that have a direct monetary value, such as medical bills and funeral costs. Non-economic damages represent losses that do not have an assigned monetary value, such as emotional anguish and loss of consortium. Punitive damages are recoverable in cases where the liable entity’s actions were malicious or egregious.

How long do I have to file a wrongful death claim?

Estate executors have two years from the decedent’s date of death to file a wrongful death claim in Illinois. However, if the decedent’s death was caused by violent intentional conduct, executors have five years from the date of death to pursue a claim. For cases involving a criminal charge, a wrongful death claim may be brought one year after the case is completed.

Can I file a wrongful death claim for a loved one’s fatal work injury?

In the event of a fatal workplace accident, a lawsuit cannot be brought against the employer in Illinois. This includes situations where the employer was at fault for the accident. However, victims may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit if other liable parties were involved in the fatal accident.

Contact our Chicago wrongful death attorneys online or call (312) 609-0400 to schedule a free consultation.

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