The unexpected loss of a loved one can throw a family’s life into chaos. Not only must you make arrangements for a funeral and to settle any outstanding medical bills, but you must also think about the financial future of your family. Especially in situations where the deceased person was the family’s primary breadwinner, an unexpected death can mean catastrophe for the surviving spouse and children.
In some situations, the death was the end result of another party’s criminal activity or negligence. When this is the case, the decedent’s family has the right to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit through a knowledgeable personal injury attorney. A Lake County wrongful death lawyer could help you and your family to gather vital evidence, identify the proper defendants, and pursue claims in settlement negotiations and trials.
How a Wrongful Death May Happen
Not every death can be the subject of a wrongful death claim. The death must be traceable to another party’s actions to qualify as grounds for such a case. For example, if a person is killed after a single-car accident, it could not be argued that another driver was responsible for the accident. However, the decedent’s family could still make the case that the car manufacturer was responsible for the death due to faulty brakes, or even that a mechanic was at fault for improperly attaching a tire
As a general rule, a wrongful death case is similar to any other personal injury case. The plaintiff in the claim—or their Lake County wrongful death attorney—must prove that the defendant was at fault according to the rules of negligence cases. The fact that the victim died as a result is incidental—to recover damages, the plaintiff must simply prove that the defendant’s negligence caused the incident.
Common Scenarios Leading to Wrongful Death Claims
Common incidents that can lead to a wrongful death claim include:
- Motor vehicle accidents, including those involving cars, trucks, motorcycles, and bicycles
- Premises liability cases such as slips and falls or faulty construction
- Criminal activities such as murder or manslaughter
Special Considerations in Wrongful Death Cases
In many respects, a wrongful death claim is similar to any civil claim alleging personal injury. However, there are some key differences that plaintiffs should be aware of.
The first concerns who is able to bring the suit to court. In a normal personal injury case, the plaintiff is the injured party. Of course, if the injured party is deceased, another person must fill in. According to 740 ILCS 180/2, the plaintiff must be the personal representative of the deceased individual’s estate. This person is typically named in a will but may be appointed by a court if necessary.
Another key aspect to a wrongful death case is which damages a plaintiff may claim. Unlike many other states, Illinois law does not place a limit on the potential compensation available in a wrongful death case. As a result, a successful case could claim damages for all medical and funeral costs, as well as payments for the pain and suffering of the victim.
According to 740 ILCS 180/2, these payments can also take the family’s losses into consideration. A claim can demand payments for loss of earnings, loss of consortium, and loss of parental guidance. A wrongful death lawyer in Lake County could help the families of the deceased demand the full amount of compensation to which they may be entitled.
Working with a Lake County Wrongful Death Attorney
The unexpected loss of a loved one is always a tragedy. Whenever this loss is the result of the intentional actions or negligence of another party, though, that decedent’s family has the right to be compensated. This compensation can be for any outstanding medical bills, the pain and suffering of the victim, and the losses endured by any surviving family members.
A Lake County wrongful death lawyer could take the lead in setting things right. By working tirelessly to gather evidence and form a theory of the case that fits into Illinois law, they could take the lead in settlement negotiations and potential trials. Call today to schedule a consultation.