Illinois Wrongful Death Law
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A wrongful death is a death that is caused by the negligence or misconduct of an individual or company. Types of Illinois wrongful death cases include: medical mistakes, car or airplane accidents, criminal attacks, work-related exposure to dangerous conditions or substances, and medical malpractice.
A wrongful death action is a claim for damages that stem from the conduct, action or inaction by another party, which caused the decedent's wrongful death. Generally, the damages sought are for monetary losses and for the loss of companionship. However, new additions to the Illinois Wrongful Death Act now allow victims of a wrongful death to recover damages related to grief, sorrow, and mental suffering.
In determining the amount of damages, the court will consider the permanent loss of the decedent's earnings, due to his or her wrongful death. The amount of wages the decedent would have earned for the remainder of his or her life may also be available as damages. This is determined by the salary amount at the time of death, or support payments, for the remainder of the decedent's life (based on probable life expectancy). Punitive damages may also be available in a wrongful death action. Punitive damages are designed to punish the responsible party and prevent them from harming others.
There is no way to tell a client what a case might be worth based on a simple phone call. Every case is different and the ultimate value of the case is often determined by expert testimony from economists. Any possible defenses to a case also impact what it's worth. When you hear about someone "suing for millions" they are usually just making that up as there is usually no way to tell what value a claim has without starting a lawsuit.
Illinois wrongful death cases are usually brought on behalf of the deceased by his surviving spouse, child, or parent. That said, these cases start by opening up an estate on behalf of the deceased person and obtaining permission to sue on behalf of the estate.
In Illinois, the statute of limitations period (the maximum allowable time to file) for a wrongful death action is 2 years from the date of death. However, the time limit depends on who and what caused the wrongful death. For example, the statute of limitations is less than 2 years if you are claiming that a government agency, such as the University of Illinois, caused the decedent's wrongful death. Bottom line is that if you think you might have a case you need to act on it ASAP, even if you are grieving. Once the statute of limitations is passed the case is gone forever, almost with no exceptions.
For a wrongful death lawsuit, you should choose a lawyer that focuses their practice on catastrophic injury cases. It's not mandatory to do so, but it truly gives you the best chances of a good result. It's no coincidence that year after year the same firms have most of the top 50 highest trial results. Those firms have the track records to win.
Additionally, you should make sure the lawyer accepts your case on a contingency fee basis, meaning you are not required to pay the attorney's fees until you recover against the party you are suing. If there is no recovery in your case, you do not have to pay any attorney's fees. If you do recover against the other party, your lawyer will charge you a certain percentage of what you recover as their fee.
Clients come to us because we are a one of a kind service. We are attorneys in Illinois who will help you determine which law firm is right to represent you and your family in a wrongful death lawsuit. We do this by listening to the unique facts of your situation and connecting you with an experienced law firm that has handled similar cases successfully in the past. Our service is free, confidential and proven to help people. If you have any questions about Illinois wrongful death or would like our suggestion as to which law firm is right for you, please contact us at any time.