Attorneys for Wrongful Death Cases in Chicago, Illinois
When a Loved One is Killed in a Crash: Wrongful Death Lawsuits
Thousands of Americans are killed in motor vehicle accidents every year. These accidents may involve cars, trucks, bicycles, motorcycles, or even pedestrians. Distracted driving, bad weather, and driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol have all been to blame in many of these accidents. When someone is negligent and kills another driver or passenger, what do the surviving family members do?
Surviving family members of the deceased will need to file a wrongful death action to recover for their losses. Though wrongful death cases are generally filed on behalf of the person who died, surviving family members are able to file their own claims as well to seek compensation for the loss of their loved one.
Only certain relatives have standing to file a wrongful death claim. Generally, wrongful death cases are filed by surviving spouses or children of the deceased. This is because wrongful death cases must be filed by the personal representatives of the deceased’s estate, and these individuals are most commonly appointed as personal representatives.
In a wrongful death case, the survivors of the deceased must show:
- A person has died;
- The death was caused by negligence; and
- There are surviving family members who have been injured by the death.
Without one of the elements listed above, the claim may fail and the surviving family members may not be entitled to any damages.
The damages in a wrongful death lawsuit include a variety of expenses.
There are two primary categories of damages in wrongful death claims. The first category includes damages that occur from the moment the negligent act occurs until the victim has died. The second category includes damages the survivors have experienced after the victim has died.
For example, survivors of the deceased may be able to recover:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of future financial support
- Loss of companionship
- Grief and mental suffering
Other types of damages may also be available, depending on the circumstances surrounding the death. The amount of damages available varies significantly depending on how the death occurred. For example, if a victim was seriously injured and suffered for an extended period of time before passing away, the victim’s surviving family members may have a larger claim as compared to someone who was killed instantly in a car accident. Family members of younger accident victims who have decades left to work may also have a larger claim for damages as opposed to the family members of an older person who has already retired.
An experienced wrongful death attorney will be able to determine the best routes to take to maximize the recovery in a wrongful death claim.
If you have lost a loved one, let our Chicago law firm assist you
At Stein & Shulman LLC, we understand that pursuing a wrongful death claim is traumatic and painful. To speak with an attorney and receive your free consultation and learn about your legal options, call 312.422.0500 today.