The death of a loved one is always hard, especially when the death is caused by negligence. While there is no amount of money that make up for the pain that you are feeling, financial compensation can go a long way to easing the financial burden on the decedent’s loved ones. As such, wrongful death laws allow family members of deceased victims of negligence to recover money damages. In order to bring a successful wrongful death cause of action, the plaintiff must prove the following:
- A person died;
- The death was caused by the defendant’s negligence;
- The plaintiff suffered a loss as a result of the death, and;
- The plaintiff has a legal right to recover as a surviving family member or other person specifically named in the state’s wrongful death statute.
Since it is extremely difficult to place a value on the loss of a life, the court will consider various factors when determining the amount of damages to be awarded, such as past income history, potential income, decedent’s health status prior to death, decedent’s life expectancy, and decedent’s contribution to the household. If a plaintiff is successful in his or her wrongful death claim, he or she may be able to recover compensatory damages for things like medical bills, funeral expenses, loss of future income and benefits, loss of future inheritance, loss of parental guidance, loss of spousal companionship, and pain and suffering. In some cases, a plaintiff may also be able to recover punitive damages, which are intended to punish the defendant and deter future misconduct.
It is important to act quickly if you suspect that you might have a wrongful death cause of action. Statutes of limitations place time limits on when a wrongful death claim can be filed. If a person fails to file a wrongful death lawsuit within the applicable statute of limitations, he or she will forfeit his or her right to recover damages. Statutes of limitations vary depending on the jurisdiction and the cause of action, but in Illinois wrongful death claims must generally be filed within two years of the date of death.
The Chicago wrongful death attorneys at Ankin Law Offices, LLC have considerable skill and legal knowledge to advise you through this difficult and confusing time. If you have lost a loved one due to negligent or intentional misconduct, contact the our office at (312) 600-0000 to schedule a free consultation with one of our compassionate Chicago wrongful death lawyers.