Losing a loved one is never easy, but suffering such a devastating loss as the result of someone else’s negligence can be catastrophic to a family. Making the correct legal decision as you and your family prepare to honor your lost loved one may be difficult, but it could be essential to your future that the correct steps are taken to protect your family’s wrongful death case.
If you suffered a death in your family because of the negligence of another person or entity, you may be able to seek financial compensation with help from a skilled Will County wrongful death lawyer. Although a financial award cannot reverse the loss of a family member or loved one, a caring personal injury attorney’s assistance could help you gain some closure and rebuild your life.
Legal Elements for a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Will County
Wrongful deaths happen when preventable accidents occur because of negligence, reckless behavior, a refusal of responsibilities, or even animosity. These types of fatal incidents may occur from medical malpractice, assault, a car accident, or even a defective product. According to the Illinois Wrongful Death Act, which is listed in 740 Illinois Compiled Statutes 180, the person or entity responsible for the death of another can be held liable in a wrongful death lawsuit.
Under the Wrongful Death Act, legal actions may be brought by a deceased person’s “personal representative” for the exclusive benefit of that person’s surviving spouse and next of kin. Their next of kin may include blood relatives as parents, children, siblings, and children of those siblings. In order to establish fault, plaintiffs and their Will County wrongful death lawyers may be tasked with satisfying a set of certain criteria. These include determining that:
- The death was caused by the defendant
- The defendant was negligent and responsible for the death
- The deceased person left dependents
- The dependents suffered financial loss as a result of the death
The Measure of Damages in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
If a wrongful death lawyer in Will County successfully establishes liability for a wrongful death, they could then seek to secure compensation on behalf of the decedent’s family. A fair settlement or damage award for a wrongful death case should reasonably and fairly compensate the decedent’s lineal next of kin for their pecuniary loss related to the decedent’s death. “Pecuniary loss” may include anything from loss of money to loss of intangible relational benefits.
Illinois law recognizes a presumption that the linear next of kin has sustained some type of substantial pecuniary loss after a wrongful death. However, the amount of weight this presumption holds is generally decided from the evidence in the case. In Illinois, the Wrongful Death Act lays out procedures for bringing such a lawsuit. For example, if the deceased person suffered from emotional pain and suffering before their death, the family of the decedent may bring a cause of action for both survivorship and wrongful death. The survivorship part of the lawsuit is for conscious pain and suffering that the decedent experienced before death, as established in 755 ILCS 5/27-6.
Getting in Touch with a Will County Wrongful Death Attorney
Wrongful death can arise out of a variety of different circumstances, including motor vehicle crashes, medical malpractice, exposure to hazardous conditions at work, and criminal behavior. If you feel that your loved one died due to the negligence or reckless behavior of another person or entity, an experienced Will County wrongful death lawyer could evaluate your situation and aggressively fight to pursue compensation on your behalf. Call today to get started on your case.