man walking across the street

Can I Sue the City if My Loved One Died in a Pedestrian Accident?

Losing a loved one in a pedestrian accident that might have been prevented is incredibly painful. You can sue the city for their part in the accident, but it is a challenging process. Proving a city’s negligence, for example, having poorly designed crosswalks or malfunctioning traffic signals, is not easy. 

When a loved one dies in a Chicago pedestrian accident, you may be able to file what is known as a wrongful death claim against the city. Consider speaking with an experienced pedestrian accident attorney to discuss your options.

What is a Wrongful Death Case and Who Can Bring One?

Under Illinois law, a death caused by the reckless, careless, or negligent acts of another person, business, or governmental body is considered a wrongful death. There is only one person who can bring a wrongful death lawsuit and that is the personal representative of the estate of the victim. That is someone named in the deceased person’s will or appointed by the courts if the person died without a will. 

The personal representative files a wrongful death lawsuit for the benefit of the deceased person’s surviving spouse and next of kin. Next of kin are “blood relatives” alive at the time of the victim’s death. Usually, the victim’s spouse and children are the ones who are compensated, but when the victim wasn’t married or didn’t have children, their parents and/or siblings could be eligible for compensation. 

Be aware that there’s a limited time frame in which you can file a wrongful death lawsuit. In Illinois, the statute of limitations is generally two years from the date of the person’s death.

What Does a Wrongful Death Claim Ask for? 

Know from the start that a wrongful death claim will be a painful process to pursue. Details of the accident will be discussed and revisited as a case is built. This will be difficult to do as you grieve the loss of your loved one. 

If you choose to go forward, most claims will ask for compensation for the following: 

  • Medical expenses incurred before your loved one’s death
  • Compensation for pain and suffering your loved one endured before death
  • Burial and funeral expenses 
  • Direct economic losses like lost salary and benefits 
  • Compensation for those who have lost the affection, love, companionship, and support of the victim, and 
  • Compensation for the grief, sorry, and mental suffering of the family. 

How does one put a dollar amount on these damage claims? An attorney will help gather all of the evidence and help make a fair and accurate assessment of your losses, both financial and emotional. 

In addition to financial compensation, a wrongful death lawsuit can help bring the family some emotional closure. If found liable, perhaps the state will make changes to a dangerous intersection or traffic signal so future accidents can be prevented.

Consult with a Chicago Pedestrian Accident Attorney

Losing a loved one in a pedestrian accident is heart-wrenching. When you believe the city may be to blame for the accident, it is reasonable to want them held responsible legally. It is beneficial to speak with an experienced pedestrian accident attorney when you are able. They will examine the facts of your case and walk you through what you can expect from the legal process.