Wrongful Death Lawyers Representing Families In Chicago, Illinois
sudden death of a loved one. When a family member is killed in an accident or due to professional malpractice in Illinois, it is time to consider contacting a Chicago wrongful death attorney at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC.
When the unthinkable happens, and a loved one dies, we know that it can be hard to know where to turn or what to do. To help you, we have created this online intake form for a free case review.
A seasoned attorney in Chicago will review your intake form and contact you on the same day to discuss your legal options for monetary damages. If you need urgent help, you can call us at (888) 424-5757.
Our personal injury lawyers created this legal issue page to help guide you through some of the critical elements of an Illinois wrongful death claim. First, we will walk through what a "wrongful death" lawsuit is and who can sue for wrongful death.
Next, we will discuss some of the more common Illinois wrongful death lawsuits and the damages available. Then we will wrap up with some of the most frequently asked questions about wrongful death cases.
Seek Legal Counsel
Remember, this page is not a substitute for a full legal consultation, so seek further assistance as soon as possible. When you turn to Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, you will get a Chicago fatality attorney with decades of experience helping families. We endeavor to hold those responsible for your loved one's death liable. You will not have to deal with fees unless you receive compensation.
Our injury attorneys currently represent clients throughout the United States, Illinois, and the Chicago area, including Cook County, DuPage County, Kane County, Lake County, Will County, Aurora, Chicago, Elgin, Naperville, Schaumburg, and Waukegan.
Wrongful Death Lawsuit Accident FAQs
What are Your Chances of Dying in a Car Wreck?
A National Safety Council report analyzed preventable death. According to the report, in 2017, individuals had a one in 103 chance of dying in a car wreck.
Vehicle accidents top the list of preventable death in the United States. Pedestrians have a one in 556 chance of dying when involved in an automobile collision.
What Happens to Your Body in a Fatal Car Accident?
The forceful, sudden impact in a car accident could lead to severe injuries when kinetic energy thrusts the body in the opposite direction of the collision. Upon impact, the head could be thrust into an airbag or snap forward and backward in a whiplash motion.
Victims of many fatal car accidents have suffered trauma to the upper body and spine. Bones in the extremities can be broken, severed, crushed, cut, or scraped.
What Happens if a Person Dies in an Accident?
Police or investigators at the scene might determine that the death of another person in a vehicle accident was caused by negligence. In some cases, those responsible for the crash might face criminal charges, including vehicular manslaughter.
In addition to being held responsible for criminal liability, the driver at fault for the fatal accident might face civil charges filed by the surviving family members. Plaintiffs can submit a wrongful death claim to receive financial compensation for their damages and losses.
What is the #1 Cause of Car Crash Deaths?
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving is the leading cause of vehicle accidents on American roadways and highways.
Speeding, drunk driving, reckless driving, inclement weather, running red lights and stop signs, night driving, defective car components, and teenage drivers are on the remaining top ten list.
Can You Survive a 70 mph Crash?
Victims involved in a head-on collision while traveling at 70 mph have a 25% chance of surviving the crash. Traffic regulators post speed limits on state and federal roads to decrease the deadly potential of severe injuries and fatalities.
Each driver is responsible for their actions when operating a vehicle to minimize the risk of severe injury or death to themselves, their loved ones, and others sharing the road.
How Often Does Somebody Die in a Car Accident?
The National Safety Council statistics reveal that over 37,000 individuals are killed in vehicle accidents every year, one death every sixteen minutes. More than one in four individuals killed in automobile accidents every year are young drivers between sixteen and twenty years of age.
Many of these fatalities were the result of the victim not wearing a seat belt. Other accidents involved alcohol and drug impairment, drowsiness, and distracted driving.
What is the Legal Definition of 'Wrongful Death?'
In the State of Illinois, wrongful death is defined as a death caused by "a wrongful act, neglect or default." See 740 ILCS 180. The person or entity that caused the death can be held liable in a wrongful death lawsuit.
Under the Illinois Wrongful Death Act, when a loved one is killed, family members can bring suit on behalf of the deceased and recover compensation for their losses resulting from the death and its impact on them. 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.
In Illinois, plaintiffs must file a wrongful death lawsuit with the statute of limitations for the underlying type of case, or within one year of the date of the deceased person's death, "whichever date is the later." See 735 ILCS 5/13-209.
You must file a suit within two years of the date of the accident involving a death resulting from a personal injury, like a car accident. Because time is limited, you should seek the advice of an experienced wrongful death attorney in Chicago as soon as possible to ensure that time limitations do not bar your claim.
Who can Initiate an Illinois Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
In Illinois, only the family and heirs of a deceased person can file a claim for wrongful death that might include a spouse, child, or court-appointed personal representative. The money awarded in the wrongful death action is usually distributed to the legal heirs or beneficiaries of the victim.
Although, in certain instances, the beneficiaries of family members and heirs can recover compensation as well.
Plaintiffs are only barred from recovery if they negligently contributed to the decedent's death, like causing an auto accident, or an employer failing to provide workers with required safety equipment. If the negligence of the beneficiary was less than 50% of the cause of death, then damages will be lowered by that percentage.
However, if the negligence of the beneficiary was more than 50% of the cause of death, then that beneficiary, and any other co-beneficiary, will be barred from recovery (740 ILCS 180/2 (1) -(2)). For additional information on the rights of a person to initiate a wrongful death or injury case, contact with our wrongful death lawyers Chicago for a free case evaluation.
Most Common Fatal Accident Suits in Illinois
Some of the most common wrongful death suits in Illinois involve car accidents, medical malpractice, medication errors, defective products, construction accidents, and work accidents. The accident attorneys in Chicago at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC have experience prosecuting all types of severe accident cases and can assist you with your situation.
Car Accidents & Motor Vehicle Collisions
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, more than 35,000 people suffer an untimely death in highway accidents in the United States every year. The CDC revealed that teenage drivers are more than three times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than drivers over twenty years old.
In Illinois, 1,082 people were killed in motor vehicle accidents in 2016 alone, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation. These accidents included car accidents, truck accidents, motorcycle fatalities, bicycle fatalities, pedestrian fatalities, boating accidents, and drunk driving accidents.
Patients expect a hospital or their doctors to treat them 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.
These errors might include surgical errors, nursing home abuse, anesthesia errors, diagnosis errors, emergency room errors, birth injuries, and bedsore fatalities. Illinois law allows the family of a person killed due to medical negligence to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the individual physician and the hospital where the treatment occurred.
Many medication deaths are the result of dosage errors, medication interactions, and wrong medications. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) estimates that more than 48% of Americans have taken some form of prescription medication within the past 30 days.
More than four billion prescriptions are given out each year to patients during visits to the doctor or admission to a hospital. Many patients receive analgesics, anti-diabetic agents, and anti-hyperlipidemic agents, which can be dangerous at the wrong dosage.
Unfortunately, accidents do happen. Moreover, given the prevalence of prescription drugs in our society, there are also financial incentives to develop new drugs to treat conditions.
Going to work remains dangerous for much of the workforce in the United States despite ongoing legislation to improve workplace safety. For instance, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 5,216 people were killed while working in 2017.
The BLS evaluated these incidents and determined the primary causes of death on the job to be transportation accidents (42.1% of fatalities), falls from elevated heights (16.7%), accidents involving heavy equipment (14.3%), exposure to harmful substances (8.6%), and fires and explosions (2.5%).
Workers in construction, transportation and trucking, agriculture, and the oil and gas industries tend to be most at risk.
Damages Available in Illinois Wrongful Death Lawsuits
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.
Under the Illinois Wrongful Death Act, the jury may award damages in a civil lawsuit that are deemed to be fair compensation for your loved one's death, "including damages for grief, sorrow, and mental suffering, to the surviving spouse and next of kin of such deceased person." 740 ILCS 180/2.
Generally, When accident working on your wrongful death case and workers' compensation claim will seek to recover from a successful wrongful death lawsuit might include:
- Medical expenses, including the cost of your loved one's medical bills and emergency care before their passing
- Funeral expenses, including the cost of providing funeral and burial services to lay your loved one to rest
- Pain and suffering, including compensation for the deceased's pain and suffering before their death
- Loss of consortium, which includes the emotional anguish that accompanies the loss of a valued family member and member of the community
- Lost income, such as the value of the deceased's financial contribution to the family, including the loss of benefits and income; and
- Punitive damages that are awarded to punish the party responsible for your loved one's passing. If the negligent act or behavior is considered incredibly 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.
In Illinois, damages are distributed to the surviving spouse and family members depending on their level of dependency, closeness, and relationship with the deceased. Victims and surviving family members can take legal action to recoup a loss of companionship for their accident injuries through a personal injury claim or wrongful death lawsuit.
Filing a Lawsuit in Illinois for the Loss of a Loved One
In Illinois, generally, only the family and heirs of the deceased can file a claim for the loss of a loved one. Eligible beneficiaries might include the deceased's spouse, children, or a court-appointed personal representative.
However, just because an individual has the standing to initiate a wrongful death case does not mean that they will receive the proceeds under Illinois law. A judge must determine the amount that each family member will receive for the proceeds from the lawsuit to be distributed.
Time Constraints on Filing a Lawsuit
In Illinois, you generally must file a wrongful death lawsuit within two years from when the death occurred, depending on the type of case. If you do not file within this time, the court system might bar your case from being heard.
Certain circumstances are exempt from the restriction of applying after the statute of limitations has expired. However, the general rule holds for most deaths arising from medical malpractice, personal injuries, or other kinds of misconduct.
The Type of Financial Compensation You Can Recover From a Fatal Accident Case
In an Illinois death claim, you can generally sue for expenses, including medical and burial expenses, pain, and suffering, both for the deceased and their family. Spouses might also receive compensation for loss of consortium and punitive damages if the circumstances of the victim's deaths were egregious.
Every circumstance is unique, making it difficult to generalize the amount of compensation anyone could receive. An attorney working on your behalf will review Illinois facts and figures about Illinois fatality cases and compared to other cases in the country.
However, generally, the median recovery for wrongful death cases across the nation has been about $250,000 to more than $1 million. The nationwide payment is slightly higher than the median and average recoveries in Illinois.
In Illinois, one-third of plaintiffs recover damages greater than $1 million. Nationally, only one-fifth of plaintiffs recover the same sum.
Illinois also tends to have slightly higher rates of wrongful death litigation than the rest of the U.S. Insurance companies pay out most wrongful death claims for the responsible party.
The Cost of Hiring an Accident Lawyer to Represent You For the Loss of a Family Member
The personal injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC do not charge an upfront fee for cases we handle. Our team works on a contingency fee basis, meaning there is no fee for our clients unless we obtain a financial recovery that you approve.
Our fee will depend on many factors, including the amount of time the lawsuit requires for research, negotiation, court litigation, and the final amount of damages recovered. If we do not win a financial recovery for you, we do not get paid for our services.
Complete the contact form at the top of this page, and one of our Chicago personal injury attorneys will contact you shortly.
Hire a Seasoned Illinois Attorney to Ensure You get the Compensation You Deserve
Many Chicago personal injury 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 do not place their interests first.
However, Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC has fought on behalf of families from across Illinois to help them find justice following the loss of a loved one and can help you to.
Contact our law firm today at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone call) or through the contact form to schedule a free consultation. All discussions with our law firm remain confidential through an attorney-client relationship.
Please do not send sensitive information to our law office through voicemail, email, or text message. Our attorneys follow social distancing guidelines to prevent the spread of Covid-19 (coronavirus).
Related Practice Areas:
Car Accident Fatalities- Information on Case Valuation and Settlements
Truck Accident Wrongful Death Lawsuits- Discussion of litigation and settlement value
Who Can Bring a Wrongful Death Claim? Explantation of Illinois law regarding WD lawsuits