In a wrongful death lawsuit, a representative of the decedent’s estate (usually an immediate family member) is seeking damages from those who are responsible for the person’s death. A person may be held responsible for both negligent and intentional acts. The statute of limitations for wrongful death cases is usually within 1-3 years of when the death occurred. (In Illinois, the statute of limitations is 2 years from the date of death.) Consequently, it’s important to hire a wrongful death attorney immediately to make sure your case is viable.
Proving a Wrongful Death Case
In order for a wrongful death case to be successful, the plaintiff must prove the following:
- A death occurred
- The death was caused by another person’s negligent or intentional act
- The death has caused financial loss
- Those entitled to sue have survived
Understanding Damages in Wrongful Death Cases
Plaintiffs may sue for a variety of damages in wrongful death cases, including:
- Pecuniary injuries – These are the primary type of damages in most wrongful death cases. Pecuniary injuries are financial losses including lost support, lost services, lost prospect of inheritance and losses due to medical and funeral expenses. Damages can also be awarded for loss of parental guidance and spousal companionship.
- Survival Actions – In cases were there was a time lag between the victim’s initial injury and death, damages may be awarded for pain and suffering.
- Punitive Damages – When the person’s death is the result of intentional wrongdoing, punitive damages meant to punish the defendant may be awarded.
If you have lost a loved one because of the negligence or intentional wrongdoing of another, the lawyers at Ankin Law Office can help you pursue a wrongful death case. Our attorneys are familiar with many different causes of wrongful death. We are skilled in handling difficult cases including those involving children and elderly decedents and those in which doctor-patient privilege is at issue. Contact us today for a free consultation to discuss your case.