For many people, losing a loved one is the worst thing they can contemplate. The death of a family member can be devastating, and their survivors are likely to experience a great deal of grief and sorrow, which can make dealing with burial arrangements, inheritances, and other legal issues incredibly stressful. When the death was caused by someone’s negligence, these emotional difficulties can become much worse, and a person’s untimely death can also result in a great deal of financial strain for their family.
Fortunately, the law allows a person’s survivors to pursue a wrongful death claim against the party or parties who were responsible, providing them with compensation for the damages they have suffered.
Wrongful Death Under Illinois Law
The Illinois Wrongful Death Act (740 ILCS 180/) defines wrongful death as “the death of a person caused by wrongful act, neglect, or default.” Any party which acted in a way that contributed to a person’s death, whether those actions were intentional or unintentional, may be found liable for the wrongful death. Negligent parties can include individuals, organizations, or companies.
Damages recovered in a wrongful death lawsuit must be for the “exclusive benefit” of the surviving spouse, children, and/or next of kin of the victim. In wrongful death cases, there is a two-year statute of limitations, meaning that a claim must be filed within two years of the victim’s death. The statute of limitations increases to five years in cases in which a person was killed because of a person’s intentional violent conduct, including murder, manslaughter, reckless homicide, or drug-induced homicide.
After a person’s death, their personal representative can bring a wrongful death claim against the responsible parties. This representative may be a family member, the executor of their estate, or a person appointed by the court.
Damages in Wrongful Death Cases
There are several types of damages which survivors can pursue in a wrongful death lawsuit, including:
- Loss of support - Compensation for the loss of the income, benefits, or services which the victim would have contributed to their family.
- Loss of society - Also known as “loss of consortium,” these damages include the personal losses a family suffers because they will no longer experience the love, support, and companionship of their deceased family member.
- Actual expenses - Compensation for the costs of medical treatment prior to death, as well as funeral and burial expenses.
- Emotional damages - Compensation for the “grief, sorrow, and mental suffering” experienced by the family of the deceased person.
Contact a Kane County Wrongful Death Attorney
If a person or company’s negligence led to the death of your loved one, you deserve to be compensated for your losses. At Kinnally Flaherty Krentz Loran Hodge & Masur, P.C., we understand that no amount of money can bring your family member back, but we can work to obtain compensation that will help address the financial and emotional harm that has been done to your family. Contact our Aurora personal injury lawyers today at 630-907-0909 to schedule a free consultation.