Attorney's Fees in Illinois Wrongful Death Lawsuits
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A wrongful death lawsuit can arise out of a car accident, medical malpractice, work injury or other situation where someone dies as a result of the negligence of someone else. The last thing you want to think about if you have lost a loved one is how you are going to pay for an attorney. For this reason, every Illinois wrongful death attorney that we recommend works on a contingency basis. In other words, these attorneys do not charge for their work unless the wrongful death cases result in a win and a recovery of money.
In general, wrongful death attorneys working on a contingency basis will receive one-third of the money received from personal injury lawsuits that result in a wrongful death. This is true of both court ordered payments and out-of-court settlement agreements, which occur when both sides of a law suit agree on an amount to end a case before the courts are forced to decide the outcome. In other words, if the attorney wins the case for $900,000.00, the attorney's fees would be $300,000. If the case was lost the attorney would get nothing. It's risk-reward for both the attorney and the client. The client may give up a portion of what they recover, but they don't spend any money to do that. Given that costs to bring a case to trial can exceed $50,000.00 this is a nice security blanket for the client. The attorney's risk is that they will perform hundreds of hours of work, but end up with nothing. The reward is a good pay day if they win.
In medical malpractice wrongful death cases, the amount that a contingency lawyer receives for his work has been limited by state law. Under this law, an Illinois medical malpractice lawyer's payment is capped at 33 1/3 percent of the award. The law used to allow an attorney to petition the court for additional compensation for work beyond what was expected, but that is no longer the case.
In workers' compensation cases in Illinois, attorney's fees are limited to 20% of the total recovery, but there are limits to that depending on how much the injured worker earned and how much the settlement is for. If the responsible party admits liability from the beginning then attorney's fees are limited to $100.00. In other words, if you your spouse was killed when they fell off of a scaffold and the employer doesn't dispute responsibility or that the death was work related then your attorney's fees for the workers' compensation claim should not exceed $100.00 unless any portion of the case becomes disputed.
Overall, the most important thing to know about filing a wrongful death lawsuit in Illinois is that you do not need to have any money in order hire an attorney. If you have questions about hiring a lawyer or would like an attorney referral please do not hesitate to contact us.