Illinois Wrongful Death Attorney
Wrongful death cases can be complex. From trying to determine who is responsible for the death to understanding what type of damages may be available, it can be difficult to know where to even begin. Not to forget the grief and pain you and your family may be experiencing. That is why having an experienced wrongful death attorney by your side is important.
The attorneys at Hess Injury Law have experience handling all types of wrongful death cases, including those involving:
No matter how your loved one died, we want to help you get justice. We know that nothing can bring them back, but we will do everything in our power to get you the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation.
What Is a Wrongful Death Case?
Illinois law defines wrongful death as a death caused by another person’s negligence or recklessness.
Wrongful death claims can be filed against individuals, companies, or even government entities, companies, or even government entities.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Illinois?
Only certain family members in Illinois can file a wrongful death claim.
If the deceased person was not married and had no children, their parents may be able to file a wrongful death claim. If the deceased person was unmarried and had children, their children may be able to file a claim.
What Type of Compensation Is Available in an Illinois Wrongful Death Claim?
The amount of compensation available in a wrongful death claim will depend on the specific facts and circumstances of the case. Generally, however, families can recover both economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages are those that have a specific monetary value, such as:
Non-economic damages are more difficult to quantify.
These include things like:
In some cases, punitive damages may also be available. Punitive damages are not meant to compensate the family for their losses. Rather, they are meant to punish the wrongdoer and deter future misconduct. For punitive damages to be awarded, the court must find that the defendant’s actions were particularly egregious.
Evidence for a Wrongful Death Claim
To succeed in a wrongful death claim, the family of the deceased will need to present evidence that:
In some cases, proving that the defendant’s conduct was particularly egregious may also be necessary. This is usually only required if the family is seeking punitive damages.
The Role of a Wrongful Death Attorney
If you have lost a loved one due to the negligence of another, you may be entitled to file a wrongful death claim. An experienced wrongful death attorney can help you navigate the legal process and ensure that your rights are protected. They will also be able to help you gather the evidence necessary to prove your claim and maximize the amount of compensation you are able to recover.
Remember, you only have a limited amount of time to file a wrongful death claim in Illinois. If you wait too long, you may be entirely barred from bringing a claim. As such, it is important to contact an attorney as soon as possible.
Why not just file an insurance claim?
It is important to understand that a wrongful death claim is different from an insurance claim. An insurance claim is simply a request for payment under the terms of an insurance policy. On the other hand, a wrongful death claim is a civil lawsuit filed against the person or entity responsible for the death.
Families often make the mistake of thinking that they do not need to hire an attorney because they will just be filing an insurance claim. However, this is not the case. Insurance companies are in the business of making money, not paying out claims. As such, they will often try to minimize the amount of compensation they have to pay. An experienced wrongful death attorney will know how to deal with the insurance company and fight for the full amount of compensation you are entitled to.
What if the person responsible is not insured?
In some cases, the person or entity responsible for the death may not have insurance. This can make it more difficult to recover compensation, but it is not impossible. An experienced wrongful death attorney will know how to investigate the case and identify other sources of compensation. For example, if a defective product caused the death, the family may be able to file a product liability claim against the manufacturer.
How Much Does it Cost to Hire a Wrongful Death Attorney?
Many Illinois wrongful death attorneys work on a contingency fee basis. This means they do not get paid unless they recover compensation for the family. As such, there is no upfront cost to hiring an attorney.
Common Pitfalls in Illinois Wrongful Death Cases
There are a few common pitfalls that families often make in wrongful death cases. These mistakes can often be avoided by hiring an experienced attorney.
a. Failing to File a Claim Within the Statute of Limitations
In Illinois, families have just two years from the date of death to file a wrongful death claim. This may seem like a long time, but it can often take months or even years to investigate a case and gather evidence. If you wait too long to file your claim, you may be barred from recovery.
b. Filing a Claim Against the Wrong Party
To recover damages in a wrongful death case, you must file your claim against the responsible party. This can often be tricky, as there may be multiple parties who could be held liable. An experienced attorney will know how to identify all potential defendants and will file your claim against the right party.
c. Failing to Gather Sufficient Evidence
To prove your wrongful death claim, you will need strong evidence. This often includes witness testimony, medical records, and expert reports. If you do not have enough evidence, your claim may be dismissed. An experienced attorney will know how to gather the evidence you need to prove your claim.
d. Making an Error in the Complaint
The complaint is the document that is filed with the court to start a wrongful death case. This document must be carefully drafted, as any errors may result in the dismissal of your case. An experienced attorney will know how to draft a complaint that complies with all applicable rules.
e. Failing to Respond to Discovery
Discovery is the process by which both sides exchange information and evidence. If you fail to respond to discovery, your case may be dismissed. A wrongful death attorney will know how to respond properly to discovery requests.
f. Accepting a Low Settlement Offer
The insurance company will often try to settle your case for as little as possible. If you accept a low settlement offer, you may be waiving your right to recover further damages.
g. Failing to Show Up for Court
Your case may be dismissed if you fail to show up for court. An experienced attorney will make sure you are prepared for all court appearances.
Hess Injury Law – Your Experienced Illinois Wrongful Death Law Firm
If you have lost a loved one due to the negligence of another, Hess Injury Law can help. We take pride in our ability to help families recover the compensation they need and deserve. We understand how difficult this time may be for you, and we will do everything we can to make the process as smooth as possible. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced wrongful death attorneys.
Frequently Asked Questions about Wrongful Death Claims in Illinois
If your loved one dies without a will in Illinois, their property will be distributed according to the state’s intestacy laws. These laws determine how property is distributed when someone dies without a will.
Only certain family members in Illinois can file a wrongful death claim. These family members include the deceased person’s spouse, child, or parent.
In Illinois, families can recover damages for their loved one’s lost wages, lost benefits, lost companionship, and funeral expenses.
You have two years to file a wrongful death claim. This time limit is known as the statute of limitations. You may be barred from recovery if you do not file your claim within this time period.
Families can settle their wrongful death claims out of court. This is often done through negotiation with the insurance company. However, having an attorney represent you during these negotiations is important to ensure you are getting a fair settlement.
Yes, you can file a wrongful death claim if a drunk driver killed your loved one. In Illinois, families can recover damages for their loved one’s lost wages, lost benefits, lost companionship, and funeral expenses.
Yes, you can file a wrongful death claim if your loved one died in a car accident. Families can recover damages for their loved one’s lost wages, lost benefits, lost companionship, and funeral expenses.
Proceeds from a wrongful death claim are divided among the deceased person’s surviving spouse and children. If the deceased person does not have a surviving spouse or children, the proceeds will be divided among their surviving parents. If the deceased person does not have any surviving family members, the proceeds will go to their estate.
Yes, you can file a wrongful death claim if your loved one died due to medical malpractice. You can recover damages for your loved one’s lost wages, lost benefits, lost companionship, and funeral expenses.
No, wrongful death settlements are not taxable in Illinois. This means that you will not have to pay taxes on any money you receive from a wrongful death settlement.
A wrongful death claim is filed by the deceased person’s family to recover damages for their death. An estate claim is filed by the executor of the deceased person’s estate to recover damages for the deceased person’s property.