Saying goodbye to a close relative like a parent, child, sibling, or spouse is often the most difficult and painful moment in a person’s life. These family members are the closest to our hearts. They shape how we live our lives. We eat, sleep, and enjoy life’s little moments with them.
This loss hurts more when it happens because of someone else’s wrongful conduct. You may have lost your loved one as a result of a car accident that wasn’t their fault, medical malpractice, or another tragedy. Unfortunately, thousands of families across Chicago and Illinois lose their close relatives because of someone else’s mistake or misjudgment every year.
Our wrongful death attorneys at Shannon Law Group, P.C., help people who have lost their parents, children, siblings, or spouses in accidents caused by others. We believe these families deserve immediate answers and fair compensation from the parties responsible for their loss.
If you have also lost a loved one due to someone else’s negligence, we want you to know that you have rights under Illinois law to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit. While pursuing legal action doesn’t bring your loved one back, it can help pay for financial and emotional damages you’ve suffered, such as funeral expenses, medical bills, lost wages, and loss of society.
When you’re ready to talk, call our wrongful death lawyers at (312) 578-9501 or fill out the contact form below. We offer free, no-obligation consultations. No question is too big or too small for us. Our attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, which means we don’t get paid until we come through for you.
If you’re not ready to contact us just yet, keep reading to learn more about wrongful death lawsuits and how they work in Illinois. We answer some of the most frequently asked questions, including:
- What is a wrongful death lawsuit?
- What is the Illinois Wrongful Death Act? (And how it is different from the Illinois Survival Act?)
- How much time do survivors have to file a lawsuit in Illinois?
- Who can file a wrongful death lawsuit?
- What types of compensation can my family recover?
- How can a wrongful death attorney help?
What is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
In Illinois and across the United States, thousands of wrongful death lawsuits are filed every year.
Close family members can bring wrongful death claims against a person, corporation, and/or government body who may be liable for their loved one’s death.
Every state has specific wrongful death laws about who can file a claim, how long you have to file a lawsuit and more. In this section, we’re going to discuss Illinois wrongful death regulations. If you live in a different state, these laws will vary.
There are two main Illinois laws you should know about before filing a wrongful death claim: The Illinois Wrongful Death Act and the Illinois Survival Act.
What is the Illinois Wrongful Death Act?
The Illinois Wrongful Death Act (740 ILCS 180/1) grants the victim’s survivors the right to pursue compensation in the court of law from any and all parties whose negligence contributed to their loved one’s death. Survivors may include spouses, children, parents, or the decedent’s next of kin.
So, how does the court determine whether or not you have a wrongful death claim?
Here’s a question to consider: If your loved one had survived the accident or procedure, would they have been seriously injured, giving them the right to pursue a personal injury lawsuit? If the answer is yes, then you likely have a wrongful death claim.
What is the Illinois Survival Act?
Similar to the Wrongful Death Act, the Illinois Survival Act allows the victim’s estate to recover economic and non-economic damages sustained between the time of injury and the moment of death.
For example, let’s say a person was seriously injured in a Chicago truck accident and later passed away at a hospital. Under the Illinois Survival Act, their family may pursue additional damages from the defendants for their loved one’s suffering from the time of the crash to the moment they died.
What Are the Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death Lawsuits in Illinois?
In Illinois, you can’t bring a wrongful death lawsuit whenever you get around to it. There are specific deadlines called statutes of limitations that you must follow. For most wrongful death cases, survivors can file a lawsuit within two years from the date of their loved one’s passing.
If a government body or employee is at fault, you likely have only a year to bring a claim. Don’t wait until the very last minute to pursue a case. These lawsuits require thorough investigation. Contact a wrongful death attorney today to explore your options.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Under the Illinois Wrongful Death Act, the surviving family of the deceased may be entitled to compensation from negligent parties. These eligible family members include their next of kin, particularly spouses, children, and parents.
An attorney will identify which relatives may have a legal right to pursue compensation before filing a lawsuit.
Who can I sue in a wrongful death case?
You can file suit against any person or company whose negligence or recklessness caused your loved one’s death. Survivors can sue more than one party in an Illinois wrongful death lawsuit.
Typically, a grieving family pursues a lawsuit after their relative passed away from one of the following events:
Hundreds of accidents happen every day in the Land of Lincoln. According to the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), over 1,000 people were killed in traffic crashes in 2019. Almost half of these fatalities occurred in crashes involving a motorcyclist, pedestrian, bicyclist, or semi-truck. If your family member passed away after a motor vehicle accident, contact our personal injury attorneys at Shannon Law Group, P.C. We will investigate the crash at no cost to you and determine whether you may have a right to pursue compensation in a wrongful death lawsuit.
Doctors and medical professionals make mistakes during high-risk procedures like surgery or childbirth. Other times, they may fail to diagnose a serious condition. As a result, the patient dies suddenly, leaving their family to pick up the pieces. If your family is facing a similar situation, you may be entitled to compensation. Doctors and treatment facilities carry insurance for when these medical errors occur, so don’t feel guilty about pursuing a wrongful death lawsuit. The compensation you recover can help your family pay for funeral expenses, medical bills, and other damages. Call us today to schedule your free medical malpractice case review. Our attorneys will personally review the medical records to determine if you have a case.
Hardworking men and women lose their lives while on the job every day in Illinois. In 2018, there were 184 fatal occupational injuries reported according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics. Common workplace accidents include falls from ladders or roofs, transportation crashes, equipment malfunction, and falling objects. Survivors may a have case against their loved one’s employer if they failed to properly train or follow safety regulations.
How Much Is My Wrongful Death Case Worth?
In this type of lawsuit, close family members can recover specific damages for the loss of their loved one. These damages are calculated based on the strength of the relationships between the deceased and the surviving family.
Just as every person is unique, every wrongful death lawsuit is different. As personal injury attorneys and trial lawyers, it’s our job to convey your story and the impact of your loss to the defendants and jury members.
Your case’s worth also depends on the evidence discovered in the initial investigation after your loved one’s passing. At Shannon Law Group, P.C., our lawyers never stop investigating your case. We will continue looking for additional medical records, crucial evidence, and underlying insurance policies to make sure your family gets the compensation they deserve for your loss.
Keep reading to learn more about the kinds of damages you and your family can recover in an Illinois wrongful death lawsuit.
What types of compensation can my family recover in a lawsuit?
The deceased’s next of kin can recover both economic and non-economic damages by pursuing a wrongful death case. Economic damages are easy-to-calculate losses, like ambulance and hospital bills, lost future wages, funeral expenses, or burial costs.
Non-economic damages involve losses that are harder to put a number on. How much does a wife deserve after losing her husband in a truck accident? She feels his absence from the moment she wakes up to the moment she goes to bed. How much does their 10-year-old son deserve, who now has to navigate the rest of his life without his dad?
These are all questions a jury would consider when awarding non-economic damages in a wrongful death lawsuit. Examples of non-economic damages include:
- Loss of consortium. Under Illinois law, this type of loss includes the support, companionship, society, and relationship that a husband or wife has been deprived of due to their spouse’s passing.
- Compensation for emotional anguish, grief, and sorrow. Parents, spouses, and/or children can be awarded monetary compensation for the mental pain and grief they endured because of their loved one’s death.
- Loss of society. The deceased’s next of kin may be entitled to damages for their loss of society and companionship.
How can a Wrongful Death Attorney help my family?
When your loved one passes away, there’s a hole in your heart and a space in your home that can never be filled again. While we can’t undo the wrong that occurred, we can fight for justice on behalf of your family in the Illinois court system.
Our wrongful death attorneys help families like yours recover emotionally and financially after a loved one’s passing. How do we do that? By getting them the compensation they need to continue with their lives.
Our experienced and compassionate legal team at Shannon Law Group, P.C., will guide you through the process of a wrongful death lawsuit. We’ll shoulder the burden of dealing with the defendants, defense lawyers, and insurance adjusters so your family can focus on healing.
Here’s what to expect during your case:
- Initial Consultation. Every case begins here. During a consultation, our attorneys sit down with you and your family to answer your questions. We’ll travel to you if you’re unable to visit our Woodridge or Chicago offices. If you would like to hire us, we will ask you to sign forms that allow us to legally act on your behalf. Our law firm works on a contingency fee basis. We only get paid when we come through for you. You will never receive a bill or invoice from our office for any costs associated with your case.
- Investigation. As soon as you hire us, we begin seeing the end. We think about what evidence we will need to present your case to a jury. We waste no time in the investigation. Our attorneys immediately contact our private investigator to start working on your case. She will contact witnesses, take statements, and gather other crucial evidence. Our staff will also request medical records, insurance policies, and other documents.
- Filing your case. At Shannon Law Group, P.C., we only take cases that we’ll try in front of a jury. After we’ve gathered the necessary evidence, we’ll draft your complaint and file a wrongful death lawsuit in the best venue.
- Discovery. After your case has been filed and assigned to a judge, we will begin the discovery process. In this step, both the plaintiff and the defendant will exchange information regarding the case. Discovery depositions also happen here. During your deposition, you will have the chance to convey to the defendants how the loss of your loved one has impacted your life.
- Resolution. Wrongful death lawsuits can resolve at any point. However, we often find that these cases are resolved closer to trial. If the defendant refused to resolve your case, our attorneys are prepared to try your case in front of a jury.