When a family member is killed in an accident or due to professional malpractice, it’s time to consider contacting a wrongful death attorney. Chicago, IL, tort law allows the family of the deceased to pursue the responsible party for financial compensation. When you turn to us for a Chicago wrongful death lawyer, you’ll get an attorney with decades of experience assisting clients in their efforts to hold those responsible for their loved ones’ deaths liable for their negligence.
We Get Compensation When Loved Ones Are Killed Due to the Negligence of Others
Recently, our Illinois law firm secured a $3.45 million settlement for the family of a man who died after he was improperly monitored following surgery. In another matter, we settled a wrongful death lawsuit against a nursing home for more than $1 million for the family of an 86-year-old woman who died after receiving an overdose of medication.
If you believe the death of your family member was due to the negligence of a person or company, we invite you to contact our office for a free case review with a Chicago wrongful death lawyer. All of our Illinois wrongful death cases are handled on a contingency fee basis: We only receive a legal fee when we are successful on your behalf.
What Is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Before you can determine whether you have the grounds for a lawsuit, you need to understand what qualifies as wrongful death. Plainly put, it is defined as any unintentional action or negligent behavior that results in the death of another person.
In order to win wrongful death lawsuits, the party initiating the case has the burden of establishing that the party they are suing acted negligently and that their negligence was the proximate cause of the death of their loved one.
When you work with a Chicago wrongful death attorney from our firm, you can be sure that they will invest considerable time and expense in establishing negligence in these matters. We regularly work with some of the leading experts in the fields of accident reconstruction, work safety, and medicine to show that the party we are suing acted negligently. We feel that this investment is crucial to presenting the most favorable case before a jury or when approaching an insurance company at the settlement table.
Types of Wrongful Death Cases
Motor Vehicle Accidents
Each year, more than 35,000 people lose their lives in highway accidents in the United States, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. According to the CDC, teenage drivers are more than three times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash compared to drivers over the age of 20.
In Illinois, 1,082 people were killed in motor vehicle accidents in 2016 alone, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation.
Specific types of motor vehicle accident cases include:
- Fatal car accidents
- Motorcycle fatalities
- Wrongful death truck accidents
- Fatal bicycle accidents
- Pedestrian fatalities
- Boating accidents
- Drunk-driving accidents
When we go to a doctor or hospital, we expect them to treat us with competence and care. Unfortunately, mistakes made in the medical field account for an estimated 210,000 to 440,000 premature deaths each year, according to the Journal of Patient Safety.
Illinois law allows the family of a person who was killed as a result of medical negligence to file wrongful death lawsuits against the individual physician and/or the hospital where the treatment occurred.
Types of medical malpractice cases involving patient injury or death include:
- Surgical errors
- Nursing home abuse
- Anesthesia errors
- Failure to diagnose
- Emergency room errors
- Birth injuries
- Bed sore fatalities
Despite ongoing legislation to improve workplace safety, going to work remains dangerous for a large percentage of the workforce in the United States. For instance, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 4,836 people were killed while working in 2015.
The BLS evaluated these incidents and determined the primary causes of death on the job to be transportation accidents (42.5% of fatalities), falls from elevated heights (16.5%), accidents involving heavy equipment (15%), exposure to harmful substances (8.7%), and fires and explosions (2.5%).
Some of the most significant dangers include:
- Construction accidents
- Road construction
- Factory accidents
- Industrial accidents
- Refinery incidents
- Premises liability accidents
Pharmaceutical Drug Incidents
The Centers for Disease Control estimate that more than 48% of Americans have taken some form of prescription medication within the past 30 days. More than 4 billion prescriptions are given out each year to patients during visits to the doctor or admission to a hospital. The majority of these medications are analgesics, antidiabetic agents, and antihyperlipidemic agents.
Given the prevalence of prescription drugs in our society, there are financial incentives to develop new drugs to treat conditions. Unfortunately, sometimes, the new medications are not sufficiently tested by manufacturers before being brought to market, and this can result in deadly consequences. The same can also be said of medical devices.
Other situations where a patient’s death may be related to a pharmaceutical drug involve human errors made by medical facilities or pharmacies. These situations may include:
What Forms of Compensation Can Be Recovered in an Illinois Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Our Chicago wrongful death lawyers evaluate the details of each case to determine a fair value of the damages sought from the parties at fault for your loved one’s death. Generally, the damages that you can expect to recover from a successful lawsuit would include the following.
- Medical Expenses: The cost of your loved one’s medical care prior to their passing, including emergency care
- Funeral Expenses: The cost of providing a funeral and burial services to lay your loved one to rest
- Pain and Suffering: The value of your loved one’s pain and suffering preceding their death
- Loss of Consortium: The emotional anguish that accompanies the loss of a valued family member and member of the community
- Lost Income: The value of the deceased’s financial contribution to the family as well as the loss of benefits caused by their death. For example, if your loved one provided health insurance to your family, the value of the insurance benefit would be included in the damages sought. If the individual was working at the time of their passing, a claim for lost income could be sought from a responsible party.
- Punitive Damages: The purpose of punitive damages is to punish the party responsible for your loved one’s passing. If the negligent act or behavior is considered especially reckless or contemptible, punitive damages may be applied as a means of providing your family with justice while making an example of the negligent party to discourage similar behavior in the future.
Who Is Entitled to Initiate a Lawsuit?
Wrongful death lawsuits need to be initiated by an individual who has standing to pursue the case under Illinois tort law. The marital status and/or offspring of the deceased play a role in who is entitled to bring the case. Typically, close family members are the ones who are best positioned to bring the case.
In the case of a deceased person who was married at the time of their death, their living spouse would have grounds to bring a case. If there is not a surviving spouse, other family, such as children, nieces, and nephews, could pursue a case. When a child is killed in an accident or due to medical negligence, the parents would have standing to bring a case.
Just because an individual has standing to initiate a wrongful death case does not mean that they will receive the proceeds under Illinois law. In order for the proceeds from the lawsuit to be distributed, a judge must determine the amount that each family member will receive.
In Chicago, the proceeds from a wrongful death lawsuit are determined by a judge at the Daley Center. While each circumstance is unique, most distributions are based on the closeness and relationship the surviving family member had with the deceased.
Time Constraints to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Illinois
Illinois has time constraints for the initiation of all lawsuits, which are governed by the statute of limitations. Your failure to file a lawsuit within the prescribed time period will forever bar your ability to recover compensation for your case.
Generally, the statute of limitations allows the initiation of a wrongful death lawsuit in Illinois up to two years from the date of the incident, according to the Wrongful Death Act. But there are some exceptions that may shorten the time allowed for filing a case. Consequently, it is important to consult with an attorney as soon as feasible to protect your rights.
Why You Need an Attorney Following the Loss of a Loved One in an Accident
Many Illinois wrongful death claims are never filed because the families of the deceased feel that they have a low chance of success. They may also be wary of attorneys who don’t place their interests first.
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers has fought on behalf of families from across Illinois to help them find justice following the loss of a loved one. For this reason, we offer free consultations with a wrongful death attorney. Chicago clients can have their questions and concerns answered by a lawyer without any risk or obligation, and if we do take on your case, you will not be required to pay us until we have successfully secured compensation on your behalf.
Contact us today to schedule your free consultation with a wrongful death lawyer at our Chicago firm or to learn more about the legal rights of families who have lost a loved one in an accident or due to malpractice.