A Cook County Wrongful Death Lawyer Helps Families after a Fatal Accident
If you recently lost your loved one in a fatal accident, you may be able to receive settlement monies from a wrongful death claim if someone’s negligence caused the accident. There are specific rules for filing a wrongful death claim, and you’ll need to be able to establish certain elements to win a settlement. It’s highly advisable to speak to a Cook County wrongful death lawyer to determine if your loved one’s fatal accident qualifies for a claim.
What is a “wrongful death”?
Not every fatal accident is considered a “wrongful death.” In 740 ILCS 180, Wrongful Death Act, the Illinois Compiled Statutes defines wrongful death as one “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.” In other words, the basis of a wrongful death case hinges upon negligence; there must be an at-fault, liable party to file a claim or lawsuit against.
Below are some examples of common accidents or circumstances that justify a wrongful death claim.
- An auto, pedestrian or bicycle accident caused by a driver who was negligent, such as drinking and driving or texting while driving
- Medical and prescription mistakes, such a failure to diagnose a condition or prescribing the wrong medication
- Accidents that occur on others’ premises, such as from a fall from a height, drowning, a falling object, an animal attack, building fires or violence due to negligent security
- Exposure to toxic chemicals
- Deaths caused by dangerous drugs, defective products, equipment or parts
- Birth injuries, such as delayed Cesarean section or failure to monitor and recognize the baby’s distress
- Murder (Families can file a wrongful death claim against the wrongdoer. This civil case would be separate and distinct from any pending criminal cases.)
Who can bring a wrongful death claim?
Illinois statutes state that only a personal representative of the deceased can file a claim. You will not be able to file it yourself. Usually, a personal representative is an attorney that the courts approve. If you are unsure if your loved one’s case has been assigned a representative or if you’re in need of a wrongful death attorney in Illinois, you can contact our office at 1-800-NOW-HURT for assistance.
Types of Damages You Can Recover
Surviving spouses and next of kin are the only eligible beneficiaries of a wrongful death claim. Compensable damages include the following.
- Pecuniary damages – This is actual financial losses you’ve suffered as a result of your loved one’s death. It can include loss of income, loss of benefits, the deceased’s medical expenses prior to death, and funeral expenses.
- Emotional damages – You can also be compensated for your emotional hurts including grief, sorrow, and mental anguish.
The amount of damages you might be awarded is up to the jury’s discretion. The statutes further provide that the court will distribute the final settlement award to the beneficiaries “in the proportion, as determined by the court, that the percentage of dependency of each such person upon the deceased person bears to the sum of the percentages of dependency of all such persons upon the deceased person.”
Free Consultation with a Wrongful Death Lawyer
Our team at Buttafuoco & Associates is dedicated to helping hurting families during the aftermath of fatal accidents. Taking legal action against the party responsible may not ease all the hurt, but it can keep you afloat financially and give you a sense of peace and closure.
We encourage you to call our office and schedule a consultation. The initial meeting is free, and, should you decide to retain us, we will not bill you a dime unless and until we help you get a settlement. Contact us today at 1-800-NOW-HURT.