Springfield, IL Wrongful Death Attorneys
When a loved one dies due to the negligence of another party, it is devastating. It can be hard to know your rights and how best to proceed after such a loss.
At Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, our personal injury attorneys specialize in helping families who have lost loved ones due to another party's negligence or wrongdoing obtain fair compensation under Illinois law.
Our experienced lawyers will help you navigate this difficult time by providing compassionate counsel while aggressively pursuing justice against the responsible party and their insurance company so that you can focus on grieving without having to worry about finances as well.
Call a Springfield personal injury lawyer at (888) 424-5757 or use the contact form for immediate legal advice and schedule a free case evaluation. All confidential or sensitive information you share with our legal team remains private through an attorney-client relationship!
What is Wrongful Death?
Illinois law establishes wrongful death as a legal claim, also known as a 'survival action,' which survivors may file after losing a loved one due to death by wrongful conduct. A survival claim is brought on behalf of the decedent and any dependents directly harmed by the negligent party's wrongdoing or negligence.
In some cases, the estate can file a wrongful death claim if the deceased had no dependents, but this depends entirely on which state's laws are applicable.
The types of claims you can file in a wrongful death claim include compensation for financial damages, loss of future earnings, lost wages, earning capacity, and funeral expenses.
The Illinois Statute of Limitations
Illinois law requires that all lawsuits be filed within three years after the date of death to preserve the right to file a claim.
The statute of limitations in Illinois for wrongful death claims can be complicated due to changes in state laws over the years. In 1985, the statute was amended from 2 years to 3 years after the death occurred.
The state also passed a law allowing suit until one year from the date of discovery by someone with knowledge that the death was caused by the wrongful act or omission of another person.
Under Illinois law, claims for conscious pain and suffering are not recoverable in a wrongful death claim. Still, they are available to survivors who file an intent to file a survival action before their loved one's death occurs.
Another distinct type of recovery is a 'pecuniary loss of society and companionship' claim, also known as loss of consortium. These types of claims are only allowed if no other survivors file for wrongful death damages.
What About Spouse Claims?
Survivors who were legally married to the decedent at the time of their death can recover compensation for the following damages:
- Loss of financial support
- Loss of parental care, love, and affection
- Loss of household services
- Loss of marital society
- Medical expenses
- Mental anguish
- Loss of consortium
If you would like to file a wrongful death claim in Illinois, our Springfield wrongful death lawyers can help. Contact us at (888) 424-5757 or use the contact form on this page to set up a free consultation.
The Springfield wrongful death attorneys of Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC are leading prosecutors of cases on behalf of the families left behind in the wake of deadly yet preventable accidents.
Whether it is a distracted driver, negligent doctor, or reckless employee, we can help you collect the compensation you need from the party responsible for your loved one's death.
A successful resolution of a wrongful death case can help pay for your loved one's burial and cover the value of the financial contributions they would have made to your family for the years to come.
There also is no value that can be placed on the companionship and respect that you shared with your loved one, which is why you may be able to recover additional compensation for your loss.
Accident Statistics Show Wrongful Death as a Major Problem in America
According to the National Safety Council, if you die before the age of 42, it is most likely due to an accident, which is the leading cause of death for those under that mark and among the top five causes for death among all age groups.
Many of these accidents can be prevented, including drownings, fires, explosions, electrocution, medical negligence, prescription errors, choking, poisoning, and workplace accidents. Car accidents are also among the most common causes of death in the nation.
If the accident that claimed your loved one was someone else's fault, you have the right to seek compensation by filing a wrongful death lawsuit.
In many wrongful death cases, businesses and product manufacturers are brought into these legal actions because they failed to take needed steps to ensure that their products were safe or that workers or the general public were provided with a safe environment.
Forms of Springfield Wrongful Death Lawsuits
Regardless of what type of fatal accident your loved one may have been involved in, you could recover compensation if you can prove that negligence played a significant role. Some of the successful cases we have tried followed the following types of accidents:
- A car accident involving negligent or reckless drivers: It is becoming increasingly common for technology to distract drivers, often resulting in deadly wrecks. Other factors that can constitute negligence include fatigue, substance abuse, and failure to follow traffic laws.
- Motorcycle accidents: Including those where the cyclist is responsible for the death of the passenger.
- Pedestrian accidents: These types of accidents are always tragic and often claim the life of an innocent victim because the motorist was in a hurry or distracted.
- Poisoning or contamination: Whether it be lead poisoning at home or exposure to toxic chemicals at work, various forms of poisoning are often the fault of businesses or employers. Families have a right to compensation.
- Negligent or abusive nursing home care: This can result in preventable injuries that later claim the lives of victims due to a delayed response time.
- Medical malpractice cases result in life-ending injuries.
- Animal attacks could have been prevented through more responsible pet ownership.
- Workplace accident cases involving negligent employers, defective machinery, or the reckless behavior of another employee.
- Product liability: When a company delivers a defective product to workers or consumers, the manufacturer is responsible whenever the product causes harm.
- Explosions, fires, and electrocution: These types of accidents rarely end well, often with the victims dying of their injuries.
Survivors can hire a wrongful death lawyer if a family member dies due to someone else's negligence, error, or misconduct. You deserve to know the exact cause and to demand accountability from whoever was responsible.
Suppose you can prove negligence was at play. In that case, you may also be able to recover compensation that you can use to replace the financial contributions your loved one made to your family, provide for a funeral service, and help your family through their pain and suffering.
How Long Does a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Take to Resolve?
Typically, wrongful death lawsuits take years to completely resolve, especially in cases involving a fatal accident, medical malpractice, and deceased children. However, working closely with a wrongful death lawyer who can negotiate directly with the insurance companies for financial recovery can reduce the amount of time to compensate for damages fully.
An attorney's tireless efforts can help avoid a trial and instead fight on their client's behalf by negotiating directly with the defendants and their insurance companies.
In the meantime, the family member (plaintiff) who filed the wrongful death lawsuit can try to get on with life and avoid legal ramifications and circumstances in handling a case without representation.
How Much Does a Wrongful Death Lawyer Cost?
In addition to the court costs at the end of a case, which can be costly but are often covered by any settlements or awards from the plaintiffs, attorneys typically charge around 33% of all settlement funds.
As a result, most of these cases will take years to resolve, and few lawyers will work for free. It can be a major deterrent for many families simply looking to get on with their lives after losing a loved one.
Working out an initial payment plan based on projected settlement or award amount is another option that makes hiring legal representation easy for plaintiffs. Some lawyers will also require the family to pay them before any funds are disbursed from the defendants.
This legal representation keeps the plaintiff from profiting before they have a chance to see a penny of a settlement or judgment. Our law firm operates differently, accepting cases on a contingency fee basis to avoid upfront costs.
What Are Some Risks Involved in Appearing Trial-Ready Without Legal Representation?
In some cases, it might be possible for family members to file wrongful death lawsuits on their own without legal representation, but this could have negative consequences.
First, no one will be there to guide families through filing lawsuits, which can be complicated for grieving people who want to spend time with their loved ones.
By missing this critical step, survivors could lose the case or fail to recover damages that might otherwise have been available.
Professional representation is key when seeking to receive last-minute benefits. Without legal representation, the family could face their opponent in court without authority or power to negotiate directly with the other side.
In addition, the lack of experience leaves families open to manipulative tactics and makes it easy for opposing counsels to take advantage of their situation.
Determining Who Should File the Springfield Wrongful Death Lawsuit
In most cases where the victim left behind a surviving spouse, they would have the strongest claim to file a wrongful death claim, but the lines can get blurred if they are not married. In that case, the deceased's parents, children, or siblings may all have a claim.
It is important that the entire family, including surviving parents and children, work together and determine how to split the damages awarded by the court. When this is impossible, the presiding judge will rule on how damages should be distributed.
We can help protect your interests during these negotiations in the event of unsettled disputes so that you will be able to secure the maximum compensation possible.
What is the Available Compensation?
Every qualifying family member filing wrongful death claims can seek available compensation, including economic and non-economic damages.
A successful wrongful death claim will require proving the four elements of civil tort law, including:
- The defendant owed the victim a duty of care to ensure they had no harm
- The defendant breached that duty
- That breach caused the victim's harm or death
- The victim's damages can be proven in court
Available compensation includes:
Loss of financial support, known as wrongful death lost wages, is not the only compensation available through a successful claim. Victims and their families are also entitled to compensation for other losses that no dollar amount can replace.
We believe that the negligent party should pay all types of expenses associated with the sudden loss of the victim.
Economic damages can include:
- Funeral expenses, including burial costs and casket
- Past regular and overtime wages
- Lost future earnings
- A projected income for a life term
- Loss of financial contributions such as child support
- Emotional anxiety and grief
- Loss of consortium and companionship
- Pain and suffering for the victim include seeing a loved one die before their eyes, severe emotional distress, physical pain, and other factors
When Punitive Damages are Awarded
In extreme cases, punitive damages may be assessed at over 100 percent of the total amount of general damage claims if it is deemed that the defendant's actions rose to criminal levels.
Punitive damages are not awarded in every wrongful death case, but often only when the defendant's actions were particularly horrific or reckless. The fact that you lost a loved one because of someone else's wrongdoing does not mean you will successfully obtain punitive damages.
In some instances, punitive damages can reach as high as 300 percent of general damages if it is believed that the defendant's actions were egregious.
However, this type of penalty is usually reserved for situations where a large corporation or individual had a lot to lose and showed no regard for human life.
Wrongful Death Claims and Strict Liability
Under strict liability civil tort law, wrongful death claims typically involve the death of a loved one caused by a product manufacturer who failed to follow the law in designing, manufacturing, or distributing a harmful product.
In Illinois, strict liability involving pursuing a claim involving strict liability was previously difficult before the state passed the Product Liability Act in 1965.
For a family to recover damages, they had to prove that the defendant was negligent for their loved one's death. In other words, wrongful death allows families of deceased victims to claim loss of companionship –punitive damages are never available in a strict liability case as they must be proven negligent before filing a claim.
Why Would Someone Need Wrongful Death Legal Representation?
Families who have lost a loved one due to the negligent actions of another party, such as a car accident or medical malpractice, should always hire legal representation for their case.
Without an attorney by your side, there is no way you will be able to ensure that your self-represented case is filed correctly and timely with the courts.
Having an attorney by your side will also be helpful when dealing with the other party and their insurance company to ensure that you receive everything you deserve under the law. Without legal representation, it could be possible for defendants to deny claims or provide unreasonable offers for settlement because they know that there is no one on the other end of the negotiations.
An attorney will also guide the family through the entire legal process, ensuring that all deadlines are met and providing support throughout the case. It is especially helpful if no settlement agreement can be reached between both parties.
Unfortunately, not all wrongful death cases end with a financial award or settlement for survivors, but having an experienced trial lawyer on your side ensures that you will do everything possible to receive compensation for your loss.
Something else to keep in mind is that if you don't hire legal representation, you will represent yourself in court and your entire family's interest in the case.
Lawsuits must be submitted before the statute of limitations runs out or any time limit that a liability law has set. In most wrongful death cases, this time limit is two years from the date that the accident or incident occurred. Depending on your state's laws, you might be required to file any claims and lawsuits before even more strict deadlines and terms are set in motion.
Legal representation for wrongful death suits is beneficial because attorneys have been trained in wrongful death laws and can ensure these deadlines are being met. In addition, they will guide the family through the entire process to avoid any penalties or setbacks along the way.
Put Our Proficient Springfield Wrongful Death Lawyers to Work for You
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC has helped thousands of families just like yours after losing a loved one. Our personal injury law firm can help ensure that your family does not suffer financial hardship in addition to everything else you have needed to endure and guarantee results for that purpose.
Should we be unable to secure damages on your behalf, you are assured that you will not be burdened with legal fees— because our services will not cost you a thing.
Contact our personal injury law firm at (888) 424-5757 to arrange a free consultation with an award-winning Springfield wrongful death attorney so that we can get to work on your behalf right away.
Once we have evaluated your claim and conducted our investigation, we can let you know what legal options are available and how best to proceed with your claim to know what to expect and make informed decisions on how you wish to move forward.
Our wrongful death lawyers provide legal representation to victims harmed by another's negligence or intentional act.
Every wrongful death lawyer in our law firm works as a personal representative in related practice areas, including car accidents, trucking accidents, medical malpractice, product liability, defective drugs, premises liability, slip and fall cases, pedestrian accidents, motorcycle fatalities, and others.