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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

In Illinois, a wrongful death lawsuit can only be brought by an individual harmed by the passing of a loved one. This can include the spouse of a deceased individual, a parent of a minor child who has passed, or adult children of the deceased.

Compensation in a lawsuit is completely dependent on the details of that individual case, however, suing for medical and burial costs, loss of future income and benefits, pain and suffering, and loss of companionship are most common.

No fee unless we win. That’s our motto and will always be our reality because we do not want anyone to feel as though they cannot hire a lawyer to recover compensation for a wronged situation. Basically, our firm works on a contingency basis which means we do not get paid unless we win your case.

Wrongful Death Law

The death of a loved one is unimaginable, and the pain, distress, overwhelming expenses, and questions that follow are not easy to handle. When that loved one’s death is caused by negligence, misconduct, carelessness, or general disregard of another, it is considered a wrongful death. Grieving family members may file a Chicago wrongful death lawsuit and receive the compensation they deserve to aid in the costs associated with their loss.

While the victim of an accident pays the ultimate price, the agony and grief can take a toll on the surviving family members, and that reason is why our firm is so dedicated to helping and fighting for them to receive compensation for their loss. In fact, TorHoerman Law operates a contingency fee basis for all Chicago wrongful death lawsuits. So, we are as dedicated as our clients to get the best outcome for their cases.

Sadly, wrongful death accidents are one of the leading causes of death in the United States. While “wrongful death” is a broad term, it can encompass a number of accidents caused by the carelessness of another – a car accident caused by a driver running a red light, surgical negligence in which the incorrect operation was performed, or an elderly person abused at a nursing home. The causes are, unfortunately, countless, but if the death was caused by negligence, a Chicago wrongful death claim can be made.

If you have lost a loved one, a wrongful death attorney from TorHoerman Law may be able to help you receive compensation for your loss.

Chicago Wrongful Death Laws

According to Illinois law, 740 ILCS 180 a “whenever the death of a person shall be caused by wrongful act, neglect or default, and the act, neglect or default is such as would, if death had not ensued, have entitled the party injured to maintain an action and recover damages.”

Both acts can help the surviving family members of a deceased individual, but the main difference is that instead of focusing on the surviving loved ones, the Illinois Survival Act is primarily concerned with the victim. However, both claims are typically pursued at the same, against the same at-fault party(s).

The act, initially passed in 1853 yet amended throughout the years, allows family members of a deceased person to recover financial compensation for their losses by holding an at-fault party accountable for their negligence.

This act permits a deceased individual’s estate to recover the same compensation that they would have been entitled to prior to the time of death such as medical expenses, lost wages, or pain and suffering.

4 Elements in Proving Fault

In order to show liability and prove fault, you first must establish:

 

Negligence

The death was the result of the accused’s negligence or intent to do harm.

 

Breach of Duty

The accused party owed a duty to the victim. For example, a doctor or nurse has a legal duty to provide the best care possible to patients.

 

Causation

In addition to proving the breach of duty resulted in the death of your loved one, how the negligence occurred must also be proven.

 

Damages

You, the plaintiff, suffered loss, monetary, or otherwise.

 

In order to file a wrongful death lawsuit, an appointment of a personal representative for the deceased’s estate must be completed first.

In Illinois, the lawsuit must be filed for the statute of limitations of the underlying cause, or within one year of the deceased person’s date of death, although there are exceptions in certain circumstances. It is important to contact a wrongful death attorney in order to ensure your case is filed within the allotted time frame.

 

What Constitutes a Wrongful Death?

Again, wrongful death is considered an incident in which a person’s death results from negligence or misconduct by another person. There is a wide array of incidents that could fall under the definition of wrongful death.

Some of the more common include:

Chicago Personal Injury – Any incident that may fall under the umbrella of a personal injury claim is considered a personal injury.

Chicago Car Accidents – 1,097 deaths occurred as a result of motor vehicle accidents in Illinois in 2017 according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Chicago Truck Accidents – 4,102 people died in semi-truck crashes in 2017.

Chicago Bike or Pedestrian Accidents – Bicyclists and pedestrians accounted for 15% of all motor vehicle crash deaths in 2017 in Illinois.

Chicago Medical Malpractice – Medical malpractice is one of the leading causes of personal injury lawsuits throughout the nation. According to a study by Johns Hopkins, more than 250,000 people in the United States die as a result of medical malpractice. It’s the third leading cause of death, behind heart disease and cancer. But, other studies actually claim the number of deaths is much higher.

Chicago Anesthesia Malpractice – A study of anesthesia-related medical malpractice claims found that between 2005-2013, 2.7% were directly related to anesthesia malpractice. This type of negligence is one of the more common forms of medical malpractice.

Work-Related Accidents – 5,147 workers were killed on the job in 2017, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Impaired Driving – Driving while under the influence, whether by drugs, alcohol, or both, is not acceptable, ever. Yet, “330 people were killed in alcohol-related crashes, which was approximately 30 percent of the 1,090 total crash fatalities” according to the 2019 Illinois DUI Fact Book.

Distracted Driving – The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released a report stating that distracted driving caused the deaths of 3,450 people in 2016.

 

Those mentioned are the most common types of wrongful deaths, but wrongful death is not limited to this list, and special circumstances can arise in which other types are eligible to take on the role. Contact a Chicago wrongful death attorney right away if you have any questions regarding eligibility.

 

Civil or Criminal Lawsuit?

A civil wrongful death lawsuit is not the same as a criminal trial. If a criminal trial does occur, the criminal trial is filed on behalf of the state, and the defendant is tried for breaking a state statute or law.

In the Windy City, a  wrongful death lawsuit is filed by a family member, friend, or associate of the diseased. A wrongful death lawsuit can be filed subsequent to a criminal trial, even if the defendant is found innocent in the criminal trial.

A Chicago wrongful death lawsuit would always be considered a civil lawsuit.

In most cases, a Chicago wrongful death lawsuit will follow similar procedures and use the same evidence as a criminal trial. Because the defendant is being tried for damages, rather than a crime, the standard of proof is lower in a wrongful death lawsuit. In a criminal trial, the defendant must be found to be guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. In an Illinois wrongful death lawsuit, the plaintiff must only prove that the defendant was responsible based on a preponderance of the evidence.

 

Chicago Wrongful Death Damages

Pecuniary, or financial, injuries are the most common factor in determining damages awarded in wrongful death lawsuits. Courts often determine pecuniary damages to include loss of support, services, lost prospect of inheritance, and medical and funeral expenses. Prior to awarding damages, a pecuniary loss must be determined through a number of evaluations of the deceased individual – age, character, health state prior to death, life expectancy, earning capacity, and condition of the heirs, among others.

There are 3  types of damages commonly awarded in wrongful death lawsuits. Many lawsuits are settled outside of court, but occasionally a case will go to trial where a judge or jury decides the outcome of the case. These damages encompass both compensatory damages and punitive damages. Depending on the specifics of your case, you may choose to make a demand for one or more types of damages. Your Chicago wrongful death lawyer can help you determine what damages you should demand.

  1. Economic – Economic damages are the total value of financial contributions that the deceased would have made to the plaintiff(s) if they had not died, along with the costs associated with a death such as medical bills or funeral expenses.
  2. Non-Economic – Non-economic damages are intangible costs to the plaintiff(s) as a result of the death – such as emotional distress and suffering, loss of companionship, care, or protection.
  3. Punitive – Punitive damages are additional costs to act as punishment for the defendant. They serve as a monetary lesson for the defendant’s negligence or harmful actions.

 

The Illinois Wrongful Death Act was amended in 2007 to allow family members of the deceased to recover compensation for other non-economic damages such as sadness and mental suffering.

How is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Award Divided?

As part of a settlement, the agreement will determine how the damages are awarded. If a lawsuit goes to trial, the jury will often decide how the damages are distributed. However, there are factors to consider when dividing a settlement because, in Illinois, only the children and heirs can file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the deceased individual. If the following apply, a Chicago wrongful death lawsuit can be filed.

  • Was the deceased individual survived by minor children?
  • If the heirs are adults, can they agree upon a fair division of the damages?

 

There are special circumstances where a beneficiary, not directly related, can receive compensation as well.

 

 

How Much is the Average Chicago Wrongful Death Lawsuit Settlement?

“How much is my Wrongful Death Lawsuit worth?” This is a question that we, as Chicago wrongful death attorneys, receive a lot from clients. It is hard to say, to be honest. The specifics of any wrongful death lawsuit differ greatly case-by-case. So, it’s hard to give an average or expected amount for a wrongful death lawsuit settlement.

It is best to talk to your Chicago wrongful death lawyer about the details involved in the loss of your loved one. Then, he or she can better estimate your expected case value.

 

TorHoerman Law, Chicago Wrongful Death Lawyer

The death of a loved one is never easy, especially when their death results from someone else’s negligence or malpractice. At TorHoerman Law, our goal is to help you through the difficult process by taking the burden of recovering damages off of your shoulders. If you have any questions, contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation on your Chicago wrongful death lawsuit. A Chicago wrongful death attorney from our firm would be happy to discuss your case.

At TorHoerman law, we have a team of experienced wrongful death lawyers that are experienced and who have tried many Chicago wrongful death lawsuits in the past. There are many benefits of hiring a personal injury lawyer. We can pursue legal action on your behalf while you focus on helping your loved ones cope and caring for your own mental health.

TorHoerman Law operates on a contingency fee basis for all wrongful death lawsuits. So, we are as dedicated as our clients to get the best possible outcome for their wrongful death lawsuit.

 

“FastStats – Accidents or Unintentional Injuries.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 20 Jan. 2017, www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/accidental-injury.htm.

“FastStats – Deaths and Mortality.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 3 May 2017, www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/deaths.htm.

“Wrongful Death Action.” Legal Information Institute, Legal Information Institute, www.law.cornell.edu/wex/wrongful_death_action.

More than $4 Billion Awarded in verdicts & negotiated settlements

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TorHoerman Law is an awesome firm to represent anyone that has been involved in a case that someone has stated that it's too difficult to win. The entire firm makes you feel like you’re part of the family, Tor, Eric, Jake, Kristie, Chad, Tyler, Kathy and Steven are the best at what they do.

When I wanted to join the Xarelto class action lawsuit, I chose TorrHoerman Law from a search of a dozen or so law firm websites. I was impressed with the clarity of the information they presented. I gave them a call, and was again impressed, this time with the quality of our interactions.

When I wanted to join the Xarelto class action lawsuit, I chose TorrHoerman Law from a search of a dozen or so law firm websites. I was impressed with the clarity of the information they presented. I gave them a call, and was again impressed, this time with the quality of our interactions.

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