If you have lost a parent, spouse, child, or close relative because of someone else’s carelessness or a violent act, you can file a wrongful death claim and get financial compensation. Individuals including parents, children, and spouses are qualified to file the claim, and some states like Illinois, consider grandparents, siblings, and other legal dependents eligible under certain circumstances as well.
However, there are certain requirements you need to fulfill to bring justice to your loved one and receive compensation. The Illinois law has outlined some strict guidelines for plaintiffs to file and prove liability in a wrongful death claim.
The Essential Elements
To receive financial compensation, the plaintiff must prove the following four elements to win the wrongful death case:
- 1. Breach of Duty: It is important for the plaintiff to establish that the responsible party had a duty of care towards the victim. For example, a doctor has the duty of maintaining their patient’s health. A motorist has the duty to obey traffic laws and drive safely. The plaintiff has to prove that the defendant’s duty existed and they breached it through their negligence.
- 2. Negligence: The plaintiff must be able to prove that the defendant was careless or reckless, and their negligence resulted in the victim’s death.
- 3. Causation: Apart from proving the breach of duty, the plaintiff must be able to establish a connection between the defendant’s negligence and the victim’s death.
- 4. Damages: There must be some quantifiable damage generated as a result of victim’s death, such as funeral and burial costs, loss of protection, potential earnings, and income, medical expenses, inheritance and guidance, as well as pain and suffering.
The Common Causes of Negligence
In most cases, the reason behind the wrongful death of an individual is negligence. This term refers to the idea that the responsible party failed to take reasonable measures to prevent harm to the deceased individual. The common causes in negligence-based cases include:
- Medical Malpractice: claims against nursing homes, hospitals, or physicians.
- Auto Accidents: motor vehicle accidents, car-truck accidents, vehicle-pedestrian accidents, motorcycle accidents, auto-bicycle accidents, and others.
- Product Liability: a company or manufacturer selling defective and unreasonably dangerous products to consumers, resulting in life-threatening injury or death.
- Premises Liability: An employer or owner of a land/building failing to take standard, reasonable measures to protect the occupants against harm, which may result in fatal injury or death.
Some essential documents and pieces of evidence plaintiffs are required to produce include the medical records, accident reports, company records, witness testimony, police reports, proof of connection between the victim and the defendant, and death certificate.
You may need legal help of a reliable and experienced wrongful death attorney, as proving these key elements require gathering evidence, witness testimony, and effective representation. Not only that, they will guide you through the entire process and work closely to ensure you get justice for your loved one. Contact Fisk & Monteleone LTD. today at 815-209-9030 to schedule a free case consultation with one of our experienced wrongful death lawyers.