Legally Reviewed by:

Jonathan Rosenfeld

March 2, 2023

Over $400 Million worth of case results

Awarded The Best Lawyer in 2024 by U.S. News

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Pursuing justice in wrongful death cases is a solemn responsibility that demands a firm with an unwavering commitment to its clients. Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC specializes in handling these delicate matters with professionalism and legal precision. We strive to ensure that families affected by wrongful death are supported not only in their legal battle but also in their journey toward healing and closure.

Wrongful death claims in Chicago encompass a broad range of legal challenges, often leaving the bereaved in a state of uncertainty. Navigating this complex landscape requires understanding the nuances of the law [1] and the pathways available for seeking justice. Families grappling with the loss of a loved one due to another’s negligence find themselves confronting a myriad of questions about their legal rights and the available recourse.

Chicago Wrongful Death Attorneys

A wrongful death in Chicago is legally recognized when a life is lost due to the negligent or intentional acts of another. This legal concept is deeply rooted in Illinois statutes and case law, providing a foundation for families to seek accountability and fair compensation.

The legal framework outlines the parameters within which wrongful death cases are argued and adjudicated, offering a semblance of closure for those left behind.

What Constitutes a Wrongful Death?

Wrongful death in Illinois is defined as occurrences where negligence or intentional harm results in the victim’s death. This definition encompasses many incidents, from car accidents to deliberate acts of violence. Understanding this definition is crucial for families seeking to establish the basis of their claim under Illinois law.

Illinois Wrongful Death and Survival Acts

The Illinois Wrongful Death Act and the Survival Act play pivotal roles in wrongful death litigation. These laws delineate the rights of surviving family members and the deceased’s estate, ensuring that legal claims honor the memory and rights of those who have passed away. These Chicago wrongful death laws provide a structured approach to seeking justice and financial compensation for the irreparable loss suffered.

Illinois Surviving Act: Seeking Justice

The Illinois Surviving Act is pivotal in securing justice and compensation for wrongful deaths. It allows surviving family members to pursue legal claims when negligence leads to loss of life.

This Act empowers family members to seek damages, including medical and funeral expenses, plus compensation for emotional distress. It also holds negligent parties accountable.

Illinois Wrongful Death Act: Seeking Redress

The Act [2] is a vital legal framework that allows surviving family members to seek justice and compensation when the death of a loved one is caused by another party’s negligence or wrongful actions.

Under this Act, eligible family members, including spouses, children, and parents, have the legal right to pursue a wrongful death claim. This claim may encompass various forms of compensation, such as covering medical expenses, funeral costs, and the emotional suffering experienced by the bereaved family.

Illinois wrongful death lawyer

Who Can File Wrongful Death Claims in Chicago?

In Chicago, the eligibility to file a wrongful death lawsuit is generally reserved for immediate family survivors and appointed personal representatives. This legal provision ensures that those most affected by the loss are given a voice in seeking justice.

The law recognizes the profound impact of a loved one’s death and provides a pathway for surviving spouses and other close relatives to pursue a wrongful death claim.

Eligibility to File a Wrongful Death Claim

The right to file Chicago wrongful death civil claims extends to immediate family survivors, including spouses, children, and, in some cases, parents. This legal stance acknowledges the deep emotional and financial toll a negligent death inflicts on a family, enabling them to seek redress for their losses.

Wrongful Death Attorneys Share Fatality Causes

Common Causes of Wrongful Death in Chicago

Common causes of wrongful death include a range of tragic circumstances. These incidents, from motor vehicle accidents to medical negligence, leave families searching for answers and accountability. Understanding these common causes is essential for those seeking to make sense of their loss and pursue civil action.

Traffic Accidents and Medical Malpractice

Motor vehicle accidents and medical errors are among the leading causes of wrongful deaths in Chicago. These incidents often stem from negligence, whether a distracted driver or a healthcare professional’s oversight. Recognizing these common causes is vital for families considering a wrongful death claim to recover compensation.

Workplace Accidents and Nursing Home Abuse

Workplace accidents and nursing home abuse also contribute significantly to wrongful death cases in Chicago. These tragic incidents highlight the importance of safety regulations and the duty of care owed to employees and nursing home residents. Families affected by such tragedies are often left seeking justice for their lost loved ones.

The legal process is a complex journey, requiring a thorough understanding of the law and meticulous preparation. From the initial filing of the negligent death lawsuit to potential court litigation, the process demands attention to detail and a steadfast commitment to seeking justice.

Proving a Wrongful Death Claim

Essential elements such as duty, breach, causation, and damages must be established to prove a wrongful death claim. This legal framework is the cornerstone of wrongful death litigation, guiding families and their legal representatives through the process of demonstrating how the wrongful Act led to their loss.

Steps in Filing and Litigating a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

The steps involved in filing and litigating a lawsuit encompass a range of activities, from gathering evidence to negotiating with the insurance companies involved. This process requires a strategic approach to effectively present the case and advocate for the rights of the deceased and their family.

Compensation in Chicago Wrongful Death Claims

In wrongful death civil cases, the compensation sought by families reflects the profound impact of their loss. This compensation is not just a financial matter but a symbol of justice and acknowledgment of the pain and suffering endured.

Types of Damages Recoverable

The damages recoverable include economic losses like lost wages and medical expenses, as well as non-economic damages such as pain and suffering. In some cases, punitive damages may also be awarded to punish horrific wrongful conduct.

Factors Affecting the Case Value

Various factors influence a case’s value, including the deceased’s age, earning potential, and the extent of survivors’ losses. These considerations are crucial in determining fair compensation, ensuring the award reflects the full scope of the family’s loss.

Time Constraints and Statute of Limitations

Understanding time constraints and the statute of limitations is critical in wrongful death claims. These legal boundaries define the window within which a claim must be filed, underscoring the importance of timely civil action.

Illinois Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death lawsuit in Illinois sets a time limit within which civil action must be initiated. Exceptions to this rule exist, but generally, families must act promptly, within two years, to preserve their right to seek justice.

Timely action in a wrongful death case is not just a legal requirement but a crucial step in the healing process. Initiating a claim within the stipulated timeframe ensures that procedural constraints do not bar the path to justice.

Selecting the Right Chicago Wrongful Death Lawyer

Selecting the right Chicago personal injury lawyer is a decision that carries significant weight. The attorney chosen will guide the family through the legal process, providing support and expertise at every turn.

The choice of legal representation for wrongful death lawsuits in Chicago is critical. Families dealing with the aftermath of a negligent death need compassionate and skilled wrongful death attorneys who understand the nuances of Illinois wrongful death cases.

The law firm they select should have a proven track record of advocating for wrongful death victims and helping them recover the compensation they deserve.

Criteria for Choosing a Lawyer

Experience, client communication, and fee structures must be considered when choosing a Chicago wrongful death attorney. An attorney’s track record and approach to handling such sensitive cases can significantly influence the outcome.

Selecting the right Chicago wrongful death lawyers requires careful consideration. Families should look for a legal team with a deep understanding of the various scenarios in which wrongful death occurs, from motor vehicle accidents to medical malpractice cases. The attorney’s ability to assess the worth of a wrongful death case and determine the responsible party, whether through a civil lawsuit or a personal injury claim, is paramount.

Moreover, transparency in fee structures and effective client communication are vital aspects that families should seek when entrusting their case to a legal professional.

How an Attorney Can Help

A personal injury lawyer plays a pivotal role in navigating the complexities of these cases. Their expertise in managing negotiations, court proceedings, and the overall legal strategy is invaluable to families seeking justice for their lost loved ones.

A dedicated Chicago wrongful death attorney offers crucial support when the unthinkable happens. They can help families recover monetary damages to cover medical bills, funeral expenses, and other financial burdens that arise after a loved one’s preventable death. With their deep understanding of the law and experience handling these sensitive cases, these attorneys provide a lifeline for grieving families.

Whether negotiating with insurance companies, pursuing a personal injury lawsuit, or exploring all available options to recover financial compensation, a skilled attorney can make a significant difference in pursuing justice.

Rosenfeld Case Study

Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers represented the family of a truck driver who suffered fatal injuries when his truck was hit by another commercial vehicle on Interstate 80. The 53-year-old man was survived by his wife and two adult children. Utilizing a vocational expert and economist, we were able to make a substantial claim for future wage loss and loss of consortium. The case was resolved for $10 million.

Wrongful Death Settlements and Jury Awards

The tragedies of wrongful death cases often culminate in significant settlements or jury awards. These outcomes provide financial relief to the aggrieved families and serve as a deterrent for negligent behaviors.

Here’s a snapshot of some significant cases:

  • Estate of Tyler Thomas v. Joshua Keadle: A 19-year-old college student was killed by a fellow student. The lawsuit against the perpetrator led to a significant financial award, mainly in punitive damages.
  • Estate of Taylor Goven v. Jordan Morsette: In a crash caused by a driver with a high blood alcohol content, two women were killed, and another was severely injured. The total award included $295 million in punitive damages and substantial compensatory damages.
  • Estate of Aaron Doty v. Jonathan Rodriguez and Kenneth Felipe: $700 million: A man was attacked, rendered unconscious, and set on fire at a house party. His family was awarded $700 million in compensatory and punitive damages against the perpetrators.
  • Estate of Mathew Rotell v. Kristina Gaime: In a tragic incident, a mother attempted to kill her children and herself. The wrongful death lawsuit resulted in a $500 million award against the mother.
  • Estate of McCoy v. Frederick Wade: A dispute in an SUV led to a young man being shot and killed. The lawsuit against the shooter and accomplices resulted in a $4 million award.
  • Kathleen White et al. v. DaVita Healthcare Partners Inc.: Three patients died after dialysis treatments. The lawsuit against DaVita Inc. resulted in a $38.5 million award, with findings of concealed facts about a dangerous product.
  • Estate of Madere v. Greenwich Ins. Co. et al.: A car crash involving a tractor-trailer led to the deaths of five family members. A subsequent lawsuit resulted in a $280 million award, including punitive damages.
  • McPherson v. Jefferson Trucking: A young man died after his car struck an illegally parked 18-wheeler. The lawsuit resulted in a $260 million award against the trucking company and driver who killed the deceased person.
  • Estate of Anne Bryan et al. v. The Salvation Army et al.: A building collapse in Philadelphia killed six people. The lawsuit against various parties, including the demolition contractor and city building inspector, led to a $227 million settlement.
  • Kylie Asam v. Rudolph Ortiz and Bhandal Bros. Trucking: A young girl witnessed her family burn to death in a freeway crash. The lawsuit against the truck driver and trucking company resulted in a $150 million award.

These cases demonstrate the wide range of circumstances leading to wrongful death claims and the substantial awards that can result, reflecting both the compensatory and punitive aspects of the legal system in addressing such tragedies.

Chicago Wrongful Death Attorney FAQs

The loss of a family member is a devastating experience, especially when it is due to a preventable death. This FAQ aims to provide essential information to those seeking justice and financial compensation through civil claims, with the guidance of a knowledgeable Chicago, IL, wrongful death attorney.

What Qualifies as a Wrongful Death in Illinois?

A wrongful death in Illinois is a fatal injury that occurs because of someone else’s negligent conduct. Whether it’s through a car accident or medical negligence if the deceased person wouldn’t have died but for the wrongful death actions of another, a case may exist.

A skilled Chicago wrongful death attorney can help the surviving family understand if their situation meets the legal definition under Illinois law.

When pursuing a wrongful death lawsuit, it is essential to prove that the negligent party directly caused the victim’s death. This involves collecting and presenting evidence that supports a direct link between the wrongful Act and the dying. Our law offices are experienced in these matters and can manage the investigation and help establish the required legal causation.

The aftermath of a loved one’s death is emotionally challenging, and dealing with legal complexities can be overwhelming. It is, therefore, crucial for family survivors to engage a compassionate yet assertive legal team that prioritizes their need to seek justice while handling the procedural aspects with due diligence. The right law firm will advise on the case’s merits and guide the family through every step of the legal process.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Chicago?

In Chicago, the right to file a wrongful death claim is typically granted to the personal representative of the deceased victim. This representative is often a surviving spouse or another immediate family member appointed by the court. They act on behalf of all survivors to recover compensation for losses related to the death.

The role of the personal representative is not only to initiate the wrongful death lawsuit but also to gather all necessary documentation to support the claims. This can include evidence of the wrongful act, testimonies about the deceased person’s character and earnings, and an accounting of the financial compensation needed. The law firm representing the family will provide the necessary legal support and representation throughout this process.

It’s imperative to understand that not every relative can file a claim. State wrongful death laws specify the order of priority among relatives, and in the absence of a will, the courts may appoint a representative. It is advisable to consult with Chicago wrongful death lawyers to ensure compliance with state-specific procedural requirements.

What Types of Damages Are Recoverable in a Wrongful Death Suit in Illinois?

Damages in an Illinois wrongful death lawsuit provide monetary relief for tangible and intangible losses. Tangible (economic) damages cover medical expenses before death, funeral costs, and the projected future earnings of the deceased person. Intangible (non-economic) damages may include compensation for the survivors’ grief, sorrow, and mental suffering.

Chicago wrongful death attorneys often consult with financial experts to accurately determine the worth of a wrongful death case. These professionals can provide detailed analyses of the deceased victim’s potential lifetime earnings and contributions to the family. Additionally, they can help quantify the loss of companionship, guidance, and care the deceased provided.

However, not all damages are automatically granted, and the scope of recoverable damages can vary from case to case. Factors such as the deceased person’s age, health, earning capacity, and the circumstances of the negligent death all play a role. A wrongful death action thus requires a comprehensive legal strategy to maximize the financial compensation for the surviving spouse and family members.

How Long Do Families Have to File a Wrongful Death Action in Chicago?

In Chicago, the statute of limitations for a wrongful death legal action is generally two years from the date of death. The Illinois Wrongful Death Act establishes this legal timeframe and dictates when wrongful death lawsuits must be filed. Failure to file within this period typically results in losing the right to recover damages.

The discovery rule can sometimes extend the filing deadline if the cause of death is not immediately known. This rule allows the clock to start ticking from when the wrongful accident or incident leading to the death occurred or when it should have been discovered.

What is the most you can sue for wrongful death?

In Illinois, the amount you can sue for in a wrongful death case can vary significantly based on various factors, including the circumstances surrounding the death and the extent of the losses suffered by the surviving families. No fixed maximum limit or set monetary value can replace wrongful death victims in a lawsuit.

Instead, wrongful death settlements aim to compensate survivors for their losses, which may include medical bills, funeral expenses, lost income, and the emotional suffering caused by the loss of a loved one. The experienced wrongful death attorney you choose to represent you can help assess the full extent of damages and pursue a fair and just settlement on your behalf.

How much is a human life worth in a lawsuit?

Assigning a specific monetary value to a human life in a lawsuit is complex and subjective. Courts consider various factors, such as the deceased person’s age, earning potential, and the circumstances of their death, when determining the worth of a wrongful death lawsuit.

Additionally, the emotional impact on surviving families is taken into account. While there is no definitive answer to the question of how much a human life is worth in a lawsuit, the goal is to ensure that surviving members receive fair and just compensation for the losses they have suffered due to the preventable death.

An experienced wrongful death attorney in Chicago, IL, can work diligently to assess the unique aspects of your case and pursue the maximum compensation possible.

How are wrongful death settlements paid out in Illinois?

These settlements in Illinois are typically paid out through a structured process that involves negotiations between the parties involved. Once a settlement amount is agreed upon, the responsible party’s insurance coverage will cover the compensation.

The surviving spouse, wrongful death lawyers, or other designated representatives of the deceased person’s estate may receive the settlement funds on behalf of the surviving families. These funds can then be used to cover various expenses, including medical expenses, funeral costs, and other damages incurred as a result of the wrongful death.

It’s crucial to have experienced legal representation to ensure that the settlement is fair and adequately distributed among the surviving families, who have the right to recover damages when a wrongful death occurs.

Hiring a Chicago Wrongful Death Lawyer to Navigate Your Claim

Hiring a Chicago wrongful death lawyer to navigate your claim is a step towards ensuring that justice is served. These legal professionals provide the expertise and support necessary to handle the intricacies of such emotionally charged cases.

Taking the Next Step Towards Justice

Getting justice involves seeking the guidance of experienced wrongful death attorneys. Their role is crucial in managing the legal challenges and helping families achieve a sense of closure and fairness in the wake of their tragic loss. Contact our personal injury law firm at (888) 424-5757 to schedule a free consultation.

Resources: [1], [2]

Client Reviews

Jonathan Rosenfeld was professionally objective, timely, and knowledgeable. Also, his advice was extremely effective regarding my case. In addition, Jonathan was understanding and patient pertaining to any of my questions or concerns. I was very happy with the end result and I highly recommend Jonathan Rosenfeld.

- Michonne Proulx

Extremely impressed with this law firm. They took control of a bad motorcycle crash that left my uncle seriously injured. Without any guarantee of a financial recovery, they went out and hired accident investigators and engineers to help prove how the accident happened. I am grateful that they worked on a contingency fee basis as there was no way we could have paid for these services on our own.

- Ethan Armstrong

Jonathan helped my family heal and get compensation after our child was suffered a life threatening injury at daycare. He was sympathetic and in constant contact with us letting us know all he knew every step of the way. We were so blessed to find Jonathan!

- Giulia

This lawyer really helped me get compensation for my motorcycle accident case. I know there is no way that I could have gotten anywhere near the amount that Mr. Rosenfeld was able to get to settle my case. Thank you.

- Daniel Kaim

Jonathan did a great job helping my family navigate through a lengthy lawsuit involving my grandmother's death in a nursing home. Through every step of the case, Jonathan kept my family informed of the progression of the case. Although our case eventually settled at a mediation, I really was impressed at how well prepared Jonathan was to take the case to trial.

- Lisa
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