Too often, the worst comes from accidents. Further, families rarely prepare for the outcomes they dread the most. Yet, these two facts slam together at an unfortunate rate. After car accidents, construction incidents, and other events, wrongful deaths occur. In Illinois and across the country, we see the victims, their families, and their friends. They all struggle to deal with the event.
One thing they often forget is how much they have on their side. If your loved one died due to someone’s wrongful act, then you might be able to seek justice. The law allows people to bring a cause of action over wrongful deaths. They happen all the time. In fact, we work with families and spouses after the unthinkable happens. We show them how to use the courts to heal and move on.
Over the next few sections, we will review how you can do that. We’ll talk about what a wrongful death case means. We’ll show you how you can make one. Then, we’ll examine what your wrongful death damages might be worth. Remember, you can always call and talk to us. Our team will speak with you over the phone and set up a time to meet. It’s no hassle and no obligation. You deserve the facts! Give us a call today!
- What are Wrongful Death Damages?
- Who can Recover Wrongful Death Damages?
- Who can You Sue for Wrongful Death Damages?
- How do You get Wrongful Death Damages?
- Wrongful Death Facts and Figures
- 5 Factors That Determine how Much Your Wrongful Death Damages are Worth
- How Do I Calculate Wrongful Death Damages?
- Resources for Wrongful Death Damages
- Our Team is Ready to Help!
What are Wrongful Death Damages?
Wrongful death claims may confuse you. The victim is no longer around to cry foul. You might think this would end the matter. It doesn’t though. Certain persons can still file lawsuits. The issue remains: was the death caused through the fault of another? If it was, then a case exists. This didn’t always used to be true. For hundreds of years in the US and UK, the death meant the wrongdoer was off the hook. Now, every state and federal court permits wrongful death claims?
What are wrongful death claims? Illinois law actually defines them in 740 ILCS 180/1.
“Whenever the death of a person shall be caused by wrongful act, neglect or default, and the act, neglect or default is such as would, if death had not ensued, have entitled the party injured to maintain an action and recover damages in respect thereof, then and in every such case the person who or company or corporation which would have been liable if death had not ensued, shall be liable to an action for damages, notwithstanding the death of the person injured, and although the death shall have been caused under such circumstances as amount in law to felony.”
These actions seek compensation for the damages that arose due to the wrongful death. They can be economic or non-economic in nature. They can be for the pain the decedent felt prior to death. They may be for the suffering a family member feels after it. They could be for the expenses the ordeal created. They might even account for the egregiousness of the defendant’s conduct. Illinois law defines
We’ll get more into these specifics in the next few sections. For now, look at these common examples of wrongful death damages.
- Missed companionship.
- Lost support.
- Lost income.
- Funeral bills.
- Emotional distress.
- Pain and suffering.
Who can Recover Wrongful Death Damages?
So, who can get wrongful death damages? Now, that we discussed what such a claim is, it’ll be helpful to review who can bring one. Generally, you must suffer damage due to the death. Most states assume that some people suffer from a death. They are normally people directly related or married to the victim. Take a look at this list to get sense of who counts here.
Some states allow more distant relatives to recover. For example, grandparents and siblings might be able to make a case. Also, anyone that suffered financially from the death can bring a claim. That can get complicated factually but it’s still an option.
Who can You Sue for Wrongful Death Damages?
The law allows you to broadly sue anyone that caused the wrongful death. This can mean a person, company, or organization. The important point is that you satisfy the underlying elements of your case. Then, you can sue anyone that is at the end of that fact pattern. Here are some examples of defendants in wrongful death cases.
- An individual that crashed into someone.
- A company that was employing a driver at the time of the crash.
- A maker of a defective product that caused a death.
- A bar owner that overserved a patron that crashed into someone.
- A property owner that didn’t warn others to a dangerous condition.
Immunity might be something that blocks your case. Sometimes, you can’t sue certain defendants for wrongful death. For instance, some government agencies can’t be held liable for particular accidents. Also, railroad companies and medical companies may be let off the hook too. It’s important to remember this issue when considering a case.
How do You get Wrongful Death Damages?
Now, we want to talk about the process of a wrongful death case. This will ultimately determine if you get any wrongful death damages. That starts with filing a case in the proper amount of time. For instance, Illinois gives you the same amount of time as the underlying form of suit or 1 year from the date of the death-whichever is later. 735 ILCS 5/13-209. So, if it was for negligence, you’d have 2 years.
What must you put in your suit and prove at court? Wrongful death suits have four parts. We need to go over each of them. First, the event must have produced a death. This seems obvious, but you still need to show it. Second, the death must have come from the defendant’s negligence. Within that, you must prove all points of negligence (duty, breach, causation, damages). Third, the plaintiffs must have suffered directly from the death. Fourth, the survivors must have been harmed financially.
Sound like a lot? It might at first. Over time, you’ll see how these arose in your facts. Plus, we can help. We have years of experience working with families after a tragedy like this. We can show you how to best form your case. Then, we can fight for you at trial. You deserve every penny Illinois allows after a wrongful death. We can make sure your rights are protected!
Wrongful Death Facts and Figures
- Hundreds of thousands of people die each year on accident. A lot of these are due to the misconduct of someone else.
- You can bring a wrongful death case even if the state does or doesn’t charge anyone criminally.
- You can bring a wrongful death case and a negligence case at the same time.
- Almost half of all road deaths are due to alcohol and distractions. Although, the number of drunk driving deaths is declining.
- Tens of thousands of people die each year from medical malpractice.
- Many wrongful deaths come from defective medications, slip/fall incidents, work accidents, or nursing home negligence.
- Birth defects are a leading cause of untimely deaths. Many of these wrongful deaths stem from medical negligence.
- More than half of accidental deaths for people over 65 happen because of falls.
5 Factors That Determine how Much Your Wrongful Death Damages are Worth
To this point, we’ve give you info on wrongful death claims. We’ve told you about them. We’ve told you who can bring them and whom they can sue. We’ve given you facts and figures. Now, we want to provide you with some factors that determine them. You can use them to estimate your own wrongful death damages.
- The pain the victim felt before death.
- The costs the incident created (i.e. hospital/ambulance fees) and any funeral/burial expenses.
- Any economic losses the plaintiffs suffered as a result of the death.
- Any non-economic harms the plaintiffs sustained as a result of the death.
- The egregiousness of the defendant’s conduct.
Now, let’s apply them to see how you can calculate your own wrongful death damages.
How Do I Calculate Wrongful Death Damages?
As the factors indicate, wrongful death claims involve different kinds of damages. You have economic and non-economic harms. Each of them deserves compensation. With economic damages, those are straightforward. You simply tally up the bills and present them. You can maximize them by keeping good records and conducting thorough investigation. Non-economic damages are harder to estimate. Normally, plaintiffs compare their injuries to other cases and make similar demands. Alternatively, they might seek a multiplier of their economic costs. For instances, if they had $50,000 in economic costs, they’ll ask for 2 or 3 times that in non-economic compensation. Of course, that depends on the severity of their intangible injuries. For both kinds of harms, you’ll recovery will be magnified if you expect to endure them well into the future. So, timeline is important when predicting the total value.
This analysis should help you calculate what your wrongful deaths could be. To get closer, speak to an experienced lawyer. Then, you’ll have a more precise estimate. If you contact our offices, we can show you how to use these factors. We can help you move from a mere prediction to a bold plan for recovery!
Resources for Wrongful Death Damages
Our Team is Ready to Help!
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers has a full team devoted to assisting families after tragedies. We come in and support them during this terrible time. If you’ve lost someone close to you, give us a call. We can help you seek justice and get the assistance that you need. We’re just a phone call away!
Learn about other damages you can obtain. Read the following articles.