Losing a loved one is never easy, but it can be even more difficult if someone else’s negligence caused that loss.
Unfortunately, many people are unaware that they may be eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit against those responsible for their loved one’s untimely death.
Wrongful death lawsuits are complicated and emotionally draining, which is why you need to work with an experienced attorney who can guide you through this process.
With our help, the law offices of Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, can guide you through this process and hold those responsible accountable for their actions.
Call an Elgin personal injury lawyer at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) or use the contact form for immediate legal advice and schedule a free consultation. All confidential or sensitive information you share with our legal team remains private through an attorney-client relationship.
What is a Wrongful Death?
Wrongful death is a type of civil wrong in which a person’s actions or omissions result in untimely and unexpected death.
Wrongful death claims are brought against, but not limited to:
- Individuals who speed and cause a fatal car accident
- Employers who fail to maintain a safe work environment and cause an employee’s death
- Nursing homes that fail to provide adequate care and negligence result in the death of a patient
What is Considered a “Proper Defendant?”
Many people use “wrongful death” and “wrongful death lawsuit” to describe a civil suit for money damages against the perpetrator of accidental death. However, the legal definition of “wrongful death” is much more specific and narrow in scope.
If you are considering filing a wrongful death claim, you must understand the following:
- The deceased individual must have had a surviving spouse, children, or parents that would be eligible to file a wrongful death suit
- The “proper defendant” of the lawsuit must have been responsible for the death of the deceased individual
What Types of Damages Wrongful Death Claims
The damages in a wrongful death claim may include financial recovery for any economic or non-economic losses caused by the individual’s death.
Economic damages in a wrongful death claim may include, but are not limited to:
- Funeral costs
- Loss of income from salary/wages/benefits (present and future)
- Loss of financial support
- Loss of inheritance/inherited wealth
Non-economic damages in a wrongful death claim may include, but are not limited to:
- Loss of companionship/love/parental guidance
- Grief and mental anguish from the loss of a loved one
- Pain and suffering from witnessing a loved one’s death
What Should I Do If Someone I Love Was Killed in an Accident?
If you have been the victim of wrongful death, it is important to immediately contact experienced legal counsel who can guide you through this complicated process.
At Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, our wrongful death lawyers have been helping families obtain the compensation they need and deserve.
We have a proven record of success in wrongful death claims and understand navigating this often-complicated legal process.
Contact our Chicago-based law firm at (888) 424-5757 for a FREE consultation or contact us online today.
If you have lost a family member due to another person or company’s carelessness or negligence, you need an attorney who will fight for your rights and interests.
Wrongful Death Leads Nation in Cause of Death Data
Information provided by the National Safety Council shows that accidents are among the top five causes of death in the nation and the leading cause for anyone under 42.
Wrongful death is associated with a wide number of these deaths, as negligence often plays a role in the cause of the accident, claiming the lives of the victims.
These accidents can include truck and car wrecks, fires, drowning, trip, fall accidents, premises liability claims, workplace injuries, hazardous material exposure, medical malpractice, choking, and prescription medication errors.
Suppose negligence has been deemed the cause of your loved one’s accident. In that case, you have the right to seek compensation from all of those responsible, from the person who acted recklessly to the employer that willingly ignored safety procedures to the manufacturer that produced defective machinery.
An Elgin personal injury lawyer often finds that multiple parties share responsibility, which is why it is much more important to determine the exact cause of your loved one’s death and seek damages from those who are truly responsible.
Types of Elgin Wrongful Death Claims
If you have lost a loved one in any form of accident, it is worth looking into the case to determine whether you have the option to file a lawsuit.
Following are some examples of preventable death cases and personal injury claims we may recover compensation for on your behalf.
- Car accidents: Involve drivers that are distracted, tired, reckless, or influenced by controlled substances. Motorists not following the road rules can also be held liable when they cause a fatal accident with their motor vehicle.
- Truck accidents: Truck drivers are often pushed to their limits due to tight deadlines and a pay structure that encourages them to break labor laws to get to their destinations faster. Unfortunately, this can lead to deadly accidents.
- Pedestrian accidents: Where the motorist failed to abide by traffic laws, these accidents have the potential for devastating consequences— which often claim the victim’s life.
- Nursing home abuse or neglect: When the injuries are serious enough to cost the victim their life, punitive measures need to be taken to ensure no one else is subjected to the same treatment in the future.
- Medical malpractice: Results in fatal injuries
- Product liability. Whenever machinery or consumer products cause injury due to failure or defect, the manufacturer may be held liable, especially when it results in death.
- Animal attacks: Result in fatal wounds. Unfortunately, the majority of violent dogs are that way because of their owners. When they can roam free, they may attack and kill unsuspecting victims in a preventable altercation.
- Workplace accidents: Most of these accidents occur at manufacturing plants or on construction or excavation sites, but a workplace accident can occur just about anywhere.
- Construction accidents: Whether at home or on the job, construction accidents can result in severe injuries and even death.
Regardless of how your loved one died, you are entitled to answers and compensation— if it is determined that negligence was a factor in their life-ending accident.
We can help you recover damages that can be used to cover the cost of medical expenses, burial, lost financial contributions, loss of consortium, and the pain and suffering endured by your loved one and family.
Which Family Member Should File Your Elgin Wrongful Death Claim?
In most wrongful death cases, it is advisable for the victim’s spouse to file a wrongful death claim, as they are the closest survivor to the deceased.
However, if the victim is unmarried, their parents, children, and siblings may all have a claim, making it difficult to decide who should press the legal action.
When this is the case, it is a good idea to meet with an attorney to collectively determine who should move forward with the lawsuit and how specifically to proceed.
Suppose your family is unable to agree on how to move forward or how to distribute benefits. In that case, we can help protect your interests to ensure you receive every bit of compensation you deserve.
Pecuniary vs. Punitive Damages
Under Illinois law, pecuniary damages are awarded to compensate the family for their loss and suffering. In contrast, punitive damages do not seek restitution but aim to punish the negligent party and set an example so that no one else will be victimized similarly.
Alternatively, punitive damages seek to punish and set an example for those responsible for wrongful death in the future.
In either case, it is possible to recover both types of damages depending on what you or your loved one’s family feels is appropriate.
In some personal injury cases, monetary compensation will not be enough as the emotional trauma experienced during this difficult time cannot be measured in dollar amounts.
Compensation after a Fatal Accident in Elgin, IL or Chicago
When you have lost a loved one to an accident, the cost of burying them and living without their presence is more than enough.
It doesn’t matter where this occurred— whether it was due to negligence in the city of Elgin or Chicago— you deserve compensation for your loss.
Statute of Limitations
In Illinois, the statute of limitations on wrongful death is two years. However, if you are not familiar with this timeframe or how it works, immediately filing a lawsuit will protect your interests in the long run while also serving as sufficient evidence to support your claim.
Determining Who is at Fault
Wrongful death is the result of another’s negligence or intent to harm. Under Illinois law, the victim’s surviving family members can seek financial compensation from those whose actions took the life of their loved one.
But, how does an Elgin wrongful death attorney prove who is at fault?
Usually, the survivor will need to provide the court with evidence, such as witness testimony or medical records, to prove negligence.
For example, suppose there is a history of violence in an animal attack case or multiple personal injury claims made about faulty machinery in a workplace injury. In that case, it can be hard for the defendant’s attorney to claim it was unintentional.
Whether you are filing a claim in Elgin, Chicago, or anywhere else in Illinois, you will need to prove who was responsible for your loved one’s death.
Under strict liability laws, other parties can be accountable for your loved one’s wrongful death, not just the person who acted negligently. These may include product manufacturers or people responsible for maintaining defective machinery.
While insurance companies are likely to deny claims made against third-party defendants, you will only need to pursue them if it is determined there are grounds for negligence.
Survivors filing wrongful death cases do not need to prove that the manufacturer intentionally caused harm.
Understanding the Law: Your Right to File a First Party Claim
In addition to suing third parties such as manufacturers, we may also help you file a first-party claim against the at-fault party to seek damages for:
- Lost Financial Contributions: If your loved one was financially supporting you, such as paying for your home and food, this could be considered lost financial contributions.
- Loss of Consortium: This covers any loss that results from losing the services and companionship of your loved one, such as not having someone to take care of you.
- Mental Anguish: This covers the emotional trauma you are experiencing as a result of losing someone close to you.
Contact an Elgin wrongful death attorney who will deal directly with the defendant’s insurance company and take legal action to ensure surviving family members get the financial compensation they deserve.
Gathering evidence and checking to see if the decedent was entitled to receive workers’ compensation before passing.
Benefits Provided by Illinois Wrongful Death Law
Whether or not your loved one had a will, even if there is a surviving spouse, Illinois is a community property state. It means that any assets owned by the deceased will not be counted as separate property and will be split evenly among the survivors.
The Dependency Act is one of the most important reasons to file a wrongful death claim in Elgin, IL. According to this act, if your loved one died due to someone else’s negligent actions, the survivor is entitled to seek benefits from the state.
These may include support for your family member’s funeral expenses and lost income but will also cover medical bills resulting from an accident that led to their death if you cannot seek compensation through other means.
Financial losses incurred as a direct result of the death count as “damages” and can be claimed as compensation, including hospital costs before death, funeral expenses, and lost future income.
Any injured victims treated as an outpatient at a hospital or clinic should receive the medical expenses they incurred following their injury.
How a Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help
When filing a wrongful death claim, it can be helpful to have the advice and guidance of a personal injury attorney throughout the process.
For instance, insurance companies may deny claims made against third-party defendants without evidence that they acted negligently or intentionally caused harm. In this case, you would need an attorney to represent your claim.
When filing a wrongful death claim, there are many factors to consider, including who is responsible for the accident, how they were negligent, and what compensation will cover all related expenses.
A personal injury lawyer can help you navigate this difficult process while seeking just compensation for the loss of your loved one.
Let an Elgin Wrongful Death Attorney Review Your Compensation Claim for Free
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC is a leading prosecutor of wrongful death cases throughout the Chicago area and has helped thousands of families secure the most needed compensation they were entitled to by law.
We are confident that we can do the same for you and guarantee that our services will be free of charge.
Contact our personal injury law firm at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) or use the contact form for immediate legal advice and schedule a free consultation.
Please speak with an award-winning Elgin wrongful death attorney so that we can investigate your claim and review your legal options and strategy together.
Once we have completed our investigation, we can let you know what you can expect if you choose to proceed with a lawsuit and how we can help. Again, we look forward to serving your needs to resolve your wrongful death case.