It’s always difficult to lose a loved one and for many people, it’s one of their most challenging life experiences. If your spouse, child or parent died as a result of someone else’s negligence, it can be even harder to handle. In addition to the emotional pain, families often experience financial difficulties. Sometimes, the only light at the end of the tunnel is that Chicago wrongful death lawyers can help survivors to claim compensation.
If you lost a loved one to an individual or business’ negligence, you may be able to recover a wide range of damages. However, you need to contact an attorney promptly to determine if you have a valid claim and fight for what you deserve.
Wrongful Death Cases Explained
Under Illinois’ laws, a wrongful death is one caused by neglect, default or a wrongful act. If the victim had survived, they would have been able to claim compensation through a personal injury claim. Since they died, their estate can seek to recover monetary compensation for the losses caused by their death.
Sometimes survivors don’t know that they can file a wrongful death lawsuit. It is true that not every untimely or sudden death meets the criteria for a successful claim. However, it’s best to schedule a free consultation with an attorney before you give up hope. Wrongful death cases can emanate from several things including:
- Workplace accidents. According to the National Safety Council, a worker is injured on the job every seven seconds. Sometimes, these accidents result in the employee’s death. Workplace accidents range from slips, trips, and falls to fires and exposure to toxic chemicals.
- Vehicular accidents. If your loved one died as a result of a crash involving a motorcycle, car, bus, or truck, you may have grounds to seek compensation.
- Medical malpractice. Doctors and other healthcare professionals are supposed to make us better but sometimes, they act negligently or carelessly and cause harm. Survivors can hold both medical personnel and medical facilities liable.
- Faulty products. Many defective products make it onto the market, and they can lead to fatal injuries. Drugs, cars, tools, and medical devices can all prove to be defective.
- Violence and intentional acts. If someone intentionally harmed your loved one, it will likely be treated as a criminal matter. However, this doesn’t preclude you from filing civil action. Even if the individual is found not guilty by a jury, you may still be able to win your lawsuit.
Rules Regarding Wrongful Death Lawsuits in Chicago
There are rules that set out who can file a wrongful death claim and how much time they have to do so. In Chicago and elsewhere in Illinois, the personal representative of the deceased’s estate is the only person who can file a wrongful death lawsuit. This person is usually named in the victim’s will or estate plan. However, if an individual dies without identifying a representative, the court can appoint someone. This is often the victim’s spouse, parent or adult child. The damages go to the spouse or the victim’s next of kin.
You’ll only have a limited time to file a wrongful death lawsuit. The statute of limitations is either:
- One year from the date of death; or
- The time limit that applies to the underlying type of case. This is two years for personal injury cases.
Damages Survivors Can Claim from a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Naturally, survivors want to know how much they can get. Every case is different so Chicago wrongful death lawyers can’t say upfront how much a case is worth. However, families can typically seek compensation for:
- Medical expenses incurred from the time the victim was injured until the time they died
- Funeral and burial expenses
- The loss of services that the victim would have provided for their spouse and children
- The loss of consortium – the value of the victim’s relationship with their spouse and children
- The loss of income the victim would have provided for his or her family
- The family’s pain and suffering
How Chicago Wrongful Death Lawyers Help Grieving Families
It can be difficult to get compensation for your loved one’s death. Insurance companies don’t like paying out large sums if they can avoid it. Experienced wrongful death lawyers can support you during this time while also building a strong case.
Some of the things attorneys do include:
- Identifying the appropriate defendant
- Assisting you in quantifying economic and non-economic losses
- Informing you about how much compensation would be fair
- Negotiating with the insurer or fighting on your behalf in court
- Ensuring your lawsuit is filed within the statute of limitations
It’s important that you contact a lawyer as soon as you can after your loved one’s death. You’ll need time to grieve but you shouldn’t wait until the last minute to get legal advice. There’s no need to feel guilty about seeking monetary compensation following the passing of a loved one. At TorkLaw, we’re here to help since we understand how complex these situations can be. However, since building a case takes time and you’ll want to leave an opportunity for negotiations, you should act promptly.
How Chicago Wrongful Death Claims Are Settled
As with most cases involving injuries, wrongful death cases don’t usually go to trial. The victim’s estate and the other party’s insurer usually settle the matter through negotiations. Trials are often long and complicated so both sides tend to be eager to avoid them.
Settlement talks can end relatively quickly if it’s obvious that the other side was responsible, and they accept liability. Disputes over liability or damages can make the matter go on much longer. Sometimes, going to trial is the only way to resolve the issue. The size of the responsible party’s insurance policy also makes a difference. If the insurer won’t have to pay you much, they’re more likely to settle.
Contact TorkLaw for Advice Today
If your loved one died because of another party’s negligence, you deserve to get compensation. Call our Chicago wrongful death lawyers to schedule a free consultation and get expert legal advice. If you have a case, we’ll do everything we can to help you recover the maximum amount.