A death that should never have happened is the most difficult to accept, especially when someone else is at fault. Whether the inaction or purposeful action of another caused the untimely death of someone you love, Illinois law provides a way for you to secure compensation. A compassionate wrongful death lawyer can help you secure the compensation provided under the law.
It goes without saying that no compensation is sufficient to mitigate your loss, but at the very least, you should not have to worry about covering medical and other expenses associated with the death. With the expert legal representation of a wrongful death lawyer during this difficult time, you can hold the responsible party to account.
Do You Need a Wrongful Death Lawyer?
When another person’s negligence or misconduct causes someone’s death, the decedent’s family members can sue for damages under Illinois law. The court determines whether that person is legally liable for the death, and if so, what type of damages should go to the survivors and/or the estate.
Every state has its own wrongful death statutes, which constitute a set of civil rather than criminal guidelines. Typically, civil statutes do not have as stringent a standard of proof as criminal proceedings. Due to the technical nature of liability lawsuits, however, seeking a qualified wrongful death lawyer is your best course of action under such circumstances.
Examples of Qualifying Wrongful Death Cases
The qualifications for a wrongful death action in Illinois include:
- A person’s death caused by another person or persons
- The at-fault party’s negligence or harmful intent
- A potential financial loss to the decedent’s estate and family as a result of the death
A fatality caused by someone’s negligence can occur in a number of ways. For example, a driver who is texting and unknowingly crosses into oncoming traffic, causing a fatal crash, could be held liable for wrongful death. Murder constitutes an intentional wrongful death. So does a person’s reckless behavior, such as purposefully disobeying traffic laws, resulting in a bystander’s or passenger’s death.
Some of the circumstances leading to a wrongful death lawsuit may include:
- Commission of a crime
- Exposure to occupational hazards or substances
- Medical malpractice
- Auto, motorcycle, boat or airplane accident
- Animal attack
- Safety hazards in public places
What Types of Compensation Are Available for Wrongful Death?
Pecuniary damages, also known as financial injury, are the most common type of damages awarded in a wrongful death lawsuit. The loss of financial support and loss of services brought about by your loved one’s demise are one of the court’s primary concerns. Medical and legal expenses, funeral costs and interest on these amounts from the date of the death all qualify as pecuniary damages.
An experienced wrongful death lawyer can best determine your pecuniary loss because he or she is familiar with cases such as yours. Specifics such as the age and life expectancy of the decedent, his or her past and future earning potential, and your family’s situation all figure into this determination.
Punitive damages are often a consideration as well, especially when the death results from someone’s malicious intent. The court might award punitive damages as a way to punish the defendant for the action that led to your loved one’s death. Punitive damages, however, are not appropriate in every situation, so the advice of an Illinois wrongful death lawyer is invaluable in calculating the type and amount of damages to request.
How to Proceed with a Wrongful Death Lawyer
You may not know for certain if your circumstances fit the requirements for legal action. Even if you are reasonably certain that they do, seeking legal advice at this juncture is one of the smartest decisions you can make. If your case does not qualify, an attorney can save you time and money by telling you so upfront. If your family’s loss does legally qualify as a wrongful death, an experienced wrongful death lawyer can help you put together the strongest case possible.
If you are grieving a loved one’s untimely and unnecessary death, call 773-789-7899 for a free consultation. We will help you decide whether you should pursue a legal claim.