Wrongful death claims are those civil actions that are filed to recover damages after the death of a loved one is caused by negligence or wrongful act. Much like personal injury claims, wrongful death claims require that the plaintiff establish duty, breach of duty, and causation, and can yield damages for economic and noneconomic losses. If you have lost a loved one in Illinois, consult with a wrongful death attorney to learn more about your right to file a claim.
Cause of Action for a Wrongful Death Claim
A wrongful death claim is not allowed solely in the event that a family member dies; rather, in order to have a cause of action for a wrongful death claim, the deceased must have suffered death as a direct result of the wrongful or negligent actions of another. If death would not have ensued but for the wrongful act, then a wrongful death lawsuit may be filed. The plaintiff in the case will have to prove the above.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Illinois?
Under 740 ILCS 180/2, Section 2, the only person who is allowed to bring forth a wrongful death lawsuit is the personal representative of the deceased. Furthermore, “every action shall be for the exclusive benefits of the surviving spouse and next of kin of such deceased person.” In other words, the only people who are legally allowed to recover damages via a wrongful death claim are the spouse of the deceased or/and the deceased person’s closest living relatives, such as a child or a parent.
If no next of kin or spouse is surviving, then damages may be paid exclusively to a person furnishing medical expenses for the deceased up until death, or the personal representative (with limitations).
What Damages are Available?
There is no set amount of damages that you will receive in a wrongful death claim. That being said, you may seek compensation for multiple damages types, including:
- Medical expenses;
- Funeral and burial expenses;
- The deceased’s lost wages;
- Lost earning capacity of the deceased;
- Sorrow; and
- Mental suffering.
A damage amount that is “fair and just” shall be determined by the jury.
Contributory Negligence in Wrongful Death
In a wrongful death claim, the theory of contributory negligence may be applied. This theory states that if the fault of the deceased (in regards to cause of injury resulting in death) was more than 50 percent, then a claim cannot be filed or/and the defendant will not be liable for damages. If the fault of the deceased was less than 50 percent, then the amount of damages recoverable will be reduced in proportion to the deceased’s degree of fault.
Call an Illinois Wrongful Death Attorney Today
Losing a loved one can be a tragic and painful experience. And while no one wants to think about a lawsuit following a loved one’s death, a lawsuit may be the best way to recover the compensation that your family needs to continue living. So that you do not have to do it alone, consult with an experienced Illinois wrongful death attorney. At Fisk & Monteleone LTD., we serve the Marengo, Cherry Valley, Rosco, Rochelle, and Loves Park areas, as well as other cities in Illinois. We are passionate about helping victims settle their claims quickly and judiciously. To learn more, call us today at 815-516-0822.
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