Wrongful Death

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Waukegan Wrongful Death Attorney

It is devastating when a loved one’s life is cut short by someone else’s negligence. Nothing can atone for the loss of a family member to something like medical malpractice or a preventable accident. However, protecting the legal rights of the victim’s family members is critical. The guidance of a Waukegan wrongful death attorney is essential to not only your peace of mind while you grieve but also to ensure fair compensation for your enormous loss.

Waukegan Wrongful Death Attorney

A wrongful death lawsuit lets surviving family members file suit against the entity or person whose actions caused the loss of life through wrongdoing, negligence, or default. The negligent party should wholly compensate your family, and your loved one deserves justice. The experienced and highly skilled team of wrongful death lawyers at The Law Offices of Richard S. Kopsick are prepared to fight for you and your family with compassion and understanding.

How Does Illinois Define Wrongful Death?

In Illinois, it is considered a wrongful death when someone dies because of the fault of another person. Common causes of wrongful deaths include medical mistakes, car collisions, and defective products. The state created the Illinois Wrongful Death Act and the Illinois Survival Act to make recovering compensation in personal injury cases easier for victims’ families.

Illinois Wrongful Death Act

The Wrongful Death Act (740 ILCS 180/1) allows claims for damages if the plaintiff proves their loved one’s death happened due to negligence. Under this statute, survivors may sue for monetary or pecuniary losses following the death of their loved one. Survivors typically include the deceased’s spouse, children, or parents.

Illinois Survival Act

The Illinois Survival Act (740 ILCS 180) allows recovery of economic and non-economic damages by the victim’s estate. This compensates for the harm suffered by the victim between receiving injuries and dying.

This type of claim is separate and different from a wrongful death case. Often, plaintiffs pursue both simultaneously against the same parties.

Types of Situations That Can Lead to a Wrongful Death

Common causes of wrongful deaths include:

  • Traffic accidents – Motor vehicle collisions don’t just include automobiles. Bicyclists, motorcyclists, and pedestrians receive fatal injuries in wrecks as well.
  • Job-related accidents – An employee may lose their life in a workplace accident. Falling objects, slips and falls, explosions, fires, and falls from heights are common job-related accidents. Lack of safety equipment, suitable training, and/or not following other safety regulations are reasons an employer may be liable.Further, if a non-employer caused a loved one’s death on the job, survivors may be able to collect more than just worker’s compensation benefits.
  • Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect – Staff, administrators, and owners may be held liable if a resident dies in a nursing home facility due to negligent actions.
  • Defective Products – If a faulty product hurts a customer, members of its distribution chain can be sued. This is also true when consumers aren’t given adequate warnings about safety risks. This type of case often stems from prescription drugs and medical devices.
  • Medical Malpractice – Medical malpractice occurs when a provider’s negligence causes the death of a patient. Negligence may encompass anesthesia mistakes, prescription drug errors, failure to diagnose and misdiagnosis, and surgical errors. If an unborn child dies due to medical negligence, the parents can seek damages. That’s because a fetus is considered a “person” under Illinois law.

An experienced Waukegan wrongful death attorney will investigate and determine what caused the victim’s death and who is at fault.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Illinois?

The deceased victim’s “personal representative” may bring a wrongful death action under Illinois law. Immediate family members such as a spouse, adult child, or parent often serve as the personal representative. 

The lawsuit is filed for the “exclusive benefit” of the surviving spouse and “next of kin.” Next of kin includes blood relatives who would have received the property if the victim died without a will. 

Proving a Wrongful Death Case in Illinois

You must meet four elements when establishing a wrongful death suit in Illinois.

  • Duty – The defendant owed a duty to the deceased. 
  • Breach – The defendant didn’t fulfill a legally established duty.
  • Causation – The defendant’s actions (or inaction) contributed to the victim’s death. 
  • Damages – Recoverable damages resulted.

What Types of Damages Are Possible in an Illinois Wrongful Death Case?

Compensation for both economic and non-economic damages may be available for survivors of a loved one lost to wrongful death. Whether the claim is filed under the Illinois Survival Act or Wrongful Death Act determines the amount and type of recoverable damages. 

A survival lawsuit allows the possibility of receiving monetary compensation for medical costs, lost wages, and conscious pain and suffering. This is awarded for the victim’s harm between getting injured and dying. 

A separate claim may be filed by individual survivors or the estate for compensation for funeral costs. There are also damages for the personal suffering and grief of survivors. Additionally, the victim’s children can recover damages for the loss of education, moral training, and instruction they would have received from their deceased parent. 

What Compensation is Available in Illinois Wrongful Death Cases?

What the victim contributed to the family in the past and and what they may have contributed in the future determines the compensation amount. The victim’s age, habits, and health at the time of their death, as well as their personal expenses, must be reflected in any amount. Sorrow and grief damages may also be recoverable. 

The amount also depends on the survivor’s relationship with the deceased. For example, a child could seek damages for losing a parent’s guidance, while a spouse may wish recovery for loss of consortium. 

How Long Do I Have to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

In Illinois, lawsuits for wrongful death may be filed up to two years after your loved one’s death or within a year for lawsuits against an Illinois government agency for the wrongful death. It is always best to file these suits as soon as possible after the wrongful death occurred. This is so that you don’t exceed the statute of limitations, but also because your attorney needs time to build the most robust case possible. Please don’t wait. The Law Offices of Richard S. Kopsick’s skillful wrongful death lawyers in Lake County are ready to evaluate your case thoroughly and pursue your claim.

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