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There is nothing more overwhelming than to lose a loved one when the loss could have been prevented or avoided. Navigating the consequences of loss while grieving can be paralyzing, especially when wrongful death occurs. Adding a wrongful death attorney from our team that has been supporting families in Chicago will ensure these tragedies do not compound into financial misfortunes.
When a person’s death results from the negligence or misconduct of another person or entity (e.g. a company), a wrongful death suit may be in order. A wrongful death suit differs from other kinds of personal injury claims in that the victim (referred to as the decedent) is not bringing the lawsuit. Instead, the suit is brought by the family members of the victim’s estate with the help of a wrongful death lawyer.
A wrongful death claim can help the victim’s family recover damages for injuries and other losses they or the estate have suffered because of this death. Your family deserves to have the provisions your loved one would have created for you had this tragedy not happened.
Wrongful death happens more often than you might think:
Wrongful death cases can arise from a variety of circumstances. As a matter of fact, fatal work injuries alone totalled 184 in 2018 here in the State of Illinois.
This is according to Assistant Commissioner for Regional Operations, Charlene Peiffer, from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, who noted that the number of work-related fatalities in Illinois increased.
Below are some of our state statistics from 2018. These are published a couple of years behind, but you can see that these tragedies are more common than you might have suspected.
- In Illinois, transportation incidents resulted in 75 fatal work injuries, and contact with objects and equipment accounted for 34 fatalities. These two major categories accounted for 59 percent of all workplace fatalities in the state.
- Worker deaths from transportation incidents were up from 61 over the year, and worker fatalities due to contact with objects and equipment were up from 23.
- Violence and other injuries by persons or animals were the third-most frequent fatal work event with 26 fatalities, up from 20 in the prior year.
- Falls, slips, or trips resulted in 25 work-related deaths compared to 27 in 2017.
- Nationally, transportation incidents were the most frequent fatal workplace event in 2018, accounting for 40 percent of fatal work injuries.
- Violence and other injuries by persons or animals were the second-most common fatal event (16 percent), followed by falls, slips, and trips (15 percent) and contact with objects and equipment (15 percent).
How a wrongful death attorney help:
Understanding the law is complicated and, when you are grieving a loss it can be challenging to see potential challenges of the path ahead clearly or what might be affected by your loss beyond your grief for your loved one, having an experienced wrongful death attorney can be invaluable as they will keep your future needs in focus and fight for those needs to be compensated for.
The experienced wrongful death attorneys here at Shuman Legal understand that no amount of money can make up for the loss of your loved one. However, we can help you recover damages and loss of financial security to mitigate some of the trauma of your loss.
If your loved one’s death occurred as the result of another party’s negligence or misconduct, a wrongful death lawsuit against the person or entity responsible might be appropriate. Our team can help your family pursue compensation in a suit for:
- Loss of future earnings
- Loss of companionship
- Direct expenses
- Loss of benefits
- Punitive damages
The experienced wrongful death attorneys at Shuman Legal will help you understand how wrongful death lawsuits typically unfold and we’ll work closely with you to ensure you receive adequate compensation for your damages.
Wrongful Death FAQs
What is the definition of “wrongful death” in Illinois?
In the State of Illinois “Wrongful Death” refers to the loss of life to an individual where fault for that loss lies at the hands of another person, company, or corporation either through intention, misconduct or neglect and is governed by the Wrongful Death Act.
How do I know if I have a wrongful death claim?
In 1995 Illinois amended its legislation to state that if the injury is not caused during the course of a felony, then If a person, company, or corporation, through neglect or default should have entitled the party injured to maintain an action and recover damages if they had survived that those parties are liable to an action for damages under the wrongful death act.
The only time this is not true, is if the decedent had brought a cause of action with respect to the same underlying incident or occurrence which was settled, or on which judgment was rendered prior to their death. (Source: CIVIL LIABILITIES – (740 ILCS 180/) Wrongful Death Act.)
Who can bring a civil action in the case of wrongful death?
Wrongful Death claims should be filed by whoever is the personal representatives of the deceased. This is the Spouse or closest immediate next of kin. Next of kin can also be an adoptive parent or adopted child. Either are treated as a natural parent or child by the court. If the Plaintiff that is seeking to recover benefits by the court is younger than 18, he/she has until 2 years after they turn 18 to file a claim.
In some instances, if none of these relationships exist, a claim might be brought forward by those who incurred expense providing care, legal or medical attention for the deceased after the incident occurred. (Source: CIVIL LIABILITIES – (740 ILCS 180/) Wrongful Death Act.)
Is there a statute of limitations for a wrongful death claim?
There are legal time limits on filing a wrongful death lawsuit in the State of Illinois. The statute of limitations states that any action must commence within 2 years after the victim became deceased.
There are situations however that your wrongful death attorney can advise you on where this statute has variances for specific circumstances, for example if the victims death was the result of a violent crime that is still pending final disposition from the courts, or if the deceased is being investigated for participating in criminal activities that has not been resolved in the courts.
There has been some question within the Appellate Court in Chicago that might suggest amendment based on discovery dates of information as cited in this ruling so our best advice is that you see guidance from your wrongful death attorney experienced in both survival action and wrongful death cases to review your circumstances and options, at the very least to bring you some peace of mind.
What type of compensation is available for a wrongful death claim?
There is guidance provided to the court in regard to what considerations are to be looked at when determining compensation for either a wrongful death action or a survival action and those can be seen on the Illinois Gov Website
Circumstances and other variables make it impossible to attach or suggest a number or dollar value to the wrongful loss of a loved one.
Wrongful death settlements in Illinois reveal our legal system’s attempt to assigning value to a human life without reducing it to that value alone. If you want to know what you can expect in the way of damages, the first step is to understand the costs associated with the loss of your loved one. Our Chicago team at Shuman Legal will make sure that a wrongful death attorney guides you through the process with compassion and clarity.
What is the difference between wrongful death and survival action in Illinois?
In Illinois surviving family members can choose pursuing both a wrongful death action and a survival action. However, this is not the same in all other states. The same wrongful death attorney can file each of these claims simultaneously on your behalf.
Filing a wrongful death claim in Illinois allows you to pursue compensation for expenses related to the death and the financial and emotional losses experienced by your family. This compensation is paid directly to immediate family members and includes burial expenses, the loss of income to the family, mental pain and anguish over the loss of the loved one, and the loss of services that the deceased provided.
A survival action in Illinois is for monetary compensation that considers damages suffered “by the decedent” prior to their untimely death. In a survival action, damages are not paid directly to the next of kin like they are in a wrongful death suit. Instead, damages awarded in a survival action are paid instead to the estate of the decedent.