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Case Types We Handle
Personal Injuries
Car Accidents
Truck Accidents
Motorcycle Accidents
Bicycle Accidents
Nursing Home Abuse
Wrongful Death
Slip and Fall Accidents
Daycare Injury & Abuse
Premises Liability
St. Louis
Case Types We Handle
Personal Injuries
Car Accidents
Truck Accidents
Motorcycle Accidents
Bicycle Accidents
Construction Accidents
Nursing Home Abuse
Wrongful Death
Slip and Fall Accidents
Daycare Injury & Abuse
Dangerous Drugs
Defective Products
Chemical Exposure

The #1 Edwardsville Fatal Car Accident Lawyer

Written By:
Tor Hoerman
Tor Hoerman

Attorney Tor Hoerman, admitted to the Illinois State Bar Association since 1995 and The Missouri Bar since 2009, specializes nationally in mass tort litigations. Locally, Tor specializes in auto accidents and a wide variety of personal injury incidents occuring in Illinois and Missouri.

This article has been written and reviewed for legal accuracy and clarity by the team of writers and attorneys at TorHoerman Law and is as accurate as possible. This content should not be taken as legal advice from an attorney. If you would like to learn more about our owner and experienced injury lawyer, Tor Hoerman, you can do so here.

TorHoerman Law does everything possible to make sure the information in this article is up to date and accurate. If you need specific legal advice about your case, contact us. This article should not be taken as advice from an attorney.

Edwardsville Car Accident Lawyers for Wrongful Death Cases

On this page, we’ll discuss the benefits of hiring an Edwardsville Fatal Car Accident Lawyer, the legal process for pursuing wrongful death claims in fatal car accidents, how an Edwardsville car accident lawyer can help you seek compensation, and much more.

Pursuing Wrongful Death Claims for Victims of Fatal Car Accidents

Motor vehicle accidents are a leading cause of deaths in the United States.

Losing a loved one in a car accident is an unimaginable tragedy that no family should have to endure.

When someone’s careless or reckless actions lead to the death of another, it may be possible to seek compensation through a wrongful death claim.

Edwardsville Fatal Car Accident Lawyer

Taking legal action may not be easy when you’re grieving the loss of a loved one.

That’s why it’s crucial to have an experienced lawyer on your side to handle your claim while you process your grief.

The experienced Fatal Car Accident Lawyers at TorHoerman Law are dedicated to helping families seek justice and financial compensation for the loss of their loved ones.

Contact us now or use the chatbot on this page for a free and instant case evaluation.

Table of Contents

Filing a Wrongful Death Claim: What to Know

Wrongful death is a civil action brought by the surviving spouse, immediate family members, or representatives of the deceased person’s estate against the defendant.

The purpose of a wrongful death claim is to compensate the survivors for the loss of their loved one and to hold the responsible party accountable.

In fatal car accidents, a wrongful death claim arises when a person dies due to the negligence, recklessness, or intentional misconduct of the driver or another party.

Wrongful death cases are negligence cases at their core, meaning to prove their existence, the plaintiff’s party must validate the fundamental elements of a negligence case through evidence and arguments.

Elements of a negligence case includes:

  • Duty of Care: The defendant (i.e., the driver) must have the obligation to care for the deceased victim.
  • Breach of Duty: The defendant violated their duty and acted recklessly.
  • Causation: The defendant’s negligent actions must directly or indirectly cause the victim’s death.
  • Damages: The victim’s death must inflict damages or financial losses to the plaintiff (i.e., the surviving family members).

Who is Eligible to File a Wrongful Death Claim?

Eligibility to file a wrongful death claim varies widely across different jurisdictions, with specific laws determining who may bring such a claim.

Typically, immediate family members, dependents, or estate representatives are authorized to seek compensation for the loss of a loved one.

Depending on the jurisdiction, individuals permitted to file a wrongful death claim could be:

  • Immediate Family Members: This category typically includes spouses, children (including adopted children), and parents of unmarried children.
    • Extended family members such as siblings or grandparents may also be eligible in some states.
  • Domestic or Life Partners: In states that recognize domestic or life partnerships, these partners may have the right to file a wrongful death claim.
  • Financial Dependents: Individuals financially dependent on the deceased may also be eligible to file a claim, even if they are not direct family members.
  • Estate Representatives: In some states, the personal representative or executor of the deceased person’s estate may file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the estate and the surviving family members.

It’s imperative to consult with a qualified attorney specializing in wrongful death cases to understand your jurisdiction’s specific laws and requirements.

Wrongful death claims can be complex, and legal representation can help navigate the process and maximize the compensation available to the survivors.

The Role of a Fatal Car Accident Lawyer

An experienced Edwardsville Wrongful Death Lawyer can guide you to the right steps you should take to seek justice for your loved one’s death.

A fatal car accident lawyer in Edwardsville can help you:

  • Gather evidence
  • Establish negligent behavior
  • Calculate damages
  • Negotiate with insurance companies
  • Prepare for trial if settlement negotiations fail

Gathering Evidence

Gathering evidence is essential in a wrongful death case to establish liability and support the family’s claim for compensation.

An experienced lawyer can help you obtain official police reports, retrieve medical records, and collect CCTV or dashcam footage of the accident.

Your attorney can also help speak with witnesses to gather firsthand accounts of the events leading to the accident.

They can obtain their contact information and summon them if further testimony is needed.

Attorneys also often visit the accident scene to assess road conditions, traffic signals, and other factors.

These professionals can even call in experts like an accident reconstructionist to recreate the accident and determine fault.

Establishing Negligence

Proving negligence is vital to a successful wrongful death claim.

Your lawyer will review the collected evidence and relevant laws and regulations to build a solid argument around the fact that someone else’s negligence resulted in fatal consequences.

Whether your loved one died directly after the car accident or because of negligent or delayed medical attention (potential medical malpractice), attorneys will scrutinize every little part of the case to establish negligence.

Calculating Damages

Calculating damages ensures fair compensation for the family’s losses, but an accurate estimation is often challenging.

First, your lawyer will have to determine the economic damage by calculating the deceased’s medical expenses, funeral costs, and lost income.

Once done, they’ll determine the emotional suffering, loss of companionship, and pain experienced by family members.

These damages will fall under non-economic damages.

Negotiating With Insurance Companies

After accurately estimating the damages owed to your family, your lawyer will begin negotiating with the insurance company.

This process can take some time as insurance companies are tough negotiators and their adjusters will do their best to pay the least amount.

An experienced Edwardsville fatal car accident lawyer will provide compelling evidence of negligence and damages.

This expert will address attempts to minimize payouts, advocate for your family’s rights, and work towards a settlement that adequately covers all losses and expenses.

Trial Preparation

If negotiations fail to result in a fair settlement, your lawyer will help you prepare for a wrongful death lawsuit.

An experienced wrongful death lawyer will help you devise a strong case presentation for court using the evidence gathered earlier.

They can further strengthen your claim by consulting with experts to testify on behalf of your family.

Your attorney will also prepare your family members and witnesses for trial testimony if needed.

An Edwardsville fatal car accident lawyer plays a critical role throughout the entire legal process and will ensure you’re on the right track and receive the amount you deserve.

Compassionate Representation

Choosing a lawyer for a wrongful death case is a significant decision that requires more than just legal expertise.

You should select an attorney who possesses the necessary legal skills and demonstrates compassion and sensitivity toward the emotional complexities of such cases.

Dealing with the loss of a loved one is emotionally overwhelming.

A compassionate lawyer understands the profound grief and trauma experienced by families in wrongful death cases.

Lawyers can provide empathy and support throughout the legal process, offering comfort during a challenging time.

Effective legal representation requires trust and open communication between the lawyer and the client.

A compassionate lawyer fosters a trusting relationship by listening attentively to the family’s concerns, respecting their emotions, and addressing their needs with sensitivity.

You might have to interview numerous wrongful death lawyers to find the right one for your case.

You must carefully evaluate how your prospective lawyer communicates and how you feel when talking to them — their responses and communication style could convey whether they’re sympathetic to your situation or just after the money.

Navigating the Legal Process

Like most civil lawsuits, wrongful death lawsuits involve several steps.

Understanding the steps involved in the legal process helps set your expectations regarding the timeline of the case and your lawyer’s role with each step.

Initial Consultation

The process begins with an initial consultation, where the wrongful death attorney meets with the bereaved family.

The lawyer listens to the family’s story, gathers information about the circumstances of the death, and explains the legal options available.

A compassionate lawyer understands the emotional turmoil the family is facing and provides reassurance and empathy during this difficult conversation.

Investigation and Legal Research

After hiring a lawyer, the lawyer will thoroughly investigate the incident, gathering evidence such as accident reports, witness statements, and medical records.

The lawyer will also research applicable laws and precedents concerning wrongful death suits in the specific jurisdiction.

Case Development and Strategy

Based on the investigation and legal research, the lawyer develops a legal strategy tailored to the case’s unique circumstances.

The lawyer keeps the family informed about case developments, explaining legal concepts in a clear and accessible manner.

Pre-litigation Negotiations

Before filing a lawsuit, the lawyer may attempt to negotiate a settlement through demand letters sent to the responsible party or their insurance company.

The lawyer advocates for fair compensation on the family’s behalf, considering both economic and non-economic losses.

Filing a Lawsuit

If pre-litigation negotiations are unsuccessful, the lawyer will file a wrongful death lawsuit in the appropriate court on behalf of the family.

The lawyer handles all necessary paperwork and procedural requirements for initiating the lawsuit.


The first step of the trial is the discovery process. Both parties engage in the discovery process, exchanging relevant information and evidence through requests for documents, interrogatories, and depositions.

The lawyer prepares the family members for any depositions or interviews they may need to participate in.

Trial Preparation

Before the trial, the lawyer will prepare witnesses, including family members, for trial testimony and organize trial exhibits and evidence to present a compelling case in court.

Throughout this process, the lawyer should provide ongoing emotional support to the family, addressing their concerns and preparing them for the trial proceedings.

Settlement Negotiations

The lawyer will continue negotiating settlements with the opposing party or their representatives even when the trial date is nearly approaching.

A compassionate and dedicated lawyer will advocate for a settlement that adequately compensates the family for their losses and reflects the value of their loved one’s life.


If the case goes to trial, the lawyer represents the family in court, presenting arguments, examining witnesses, and cross-examining the opposing party’s witnesses.

The lawyer ensures the family’s voice is heard throughout the trial.

Verdict and Settlement

The court delivers a verdict based on the evidence presented during the trial.

If applicable, the lawyer continues negotiations post-trial to reach a settlement that aligns with the court’s decision or appeals the verdict if necessary.

Throughout each step of the wrongful death lawsuit, a compassionate lawyer prioritizes the well-being of the bereaved family and provides personalized support, clear communication, and diligent advocacy to make the legal process as smooth and manageable as possible during a time of profound grief and loss.

Securing Fair Compensation

In a wrongful death suit, securing fair compensation is essential to address the financial and emotional losses suffered by the surviving family members.

The types of damages sought can vary, but generally encompass economic and non-economic losses incurred due to the wrongful death.

Economic Damages

Economic damages include the costs associated with the deceased’s funeral and burial arrangements.

This financial compensation can encompass expenses such as caskets, cremation or burial services, cemetery plots, headstones, and related fees.

The family may also seek compensation for the lost financial support resulting from the death of the deceased.

This compensation includes the deceased’s projected future earnings and benefits that they would have provided to the family members had a wrongful death not occurred.

Other compensation under economic damages include:

  • Medical bills and hospital expenses (if the victim was in the hospital before passing)
  • Property damage
  • Loss of inheritance
  • Loss of benefits (such as health insurance coverage or pension plans)

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages address the intangible losses suffered by the surviving family members.

This compensation includes the emotional distress and loss of companionship, guidance, and affection caused by the death of their loved one.

Plaintiffs may also seek to compensate for the physical pain, suffering, and mental anguish endured by the deceased before their passing.

This compensation is particularly relevant in cases involving conscious suffering or prolonged distress following the injury.

Other examples of recoverable non-economic damages include:

  • Loss of consortium (for spouses)
  • Loss of parental guidance and support (for children)
  • Emotional distress, pain, and suffering

Punitive Damages

The court may also award punitive damages in cases of blatant and excessively reckless misconduct or intentional wrongdoing that led to the fatal accident.

Not all states allow punitive damages in wrongful death cases, and their availability depends on the circumstances of the case and applicable state laws.

TorHoerman Law: Wrongful Death Attorneys

At TorHoerman Law, our experienced wrongful death attorneys have a track record of securing fair compensation for our clients while providing compassionate support during their time of need.

Contact us today for a free consultation and let us help you seek justice for your loved one’s untimely passing.

You can also use our chatbot for a free case evaluation.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the role of a Fatal Car Accident Lawyer in wrongful death claims?

    A Fatal Car Accident Lawyer specializes in representing the families of those tragically killed in car accidents or those who have succumbed to fatal injuries after motor vehicle accidents.

    Experienced lawyers understand the process of wrongful death claims, helping to establish the negligent party’s liability, gather evidence, and advocate for fair compensation for the surviving family members.

  • How can families of fatal car accident victims pursue a wrongful death claim?

    Families can pursue a wrongful death claim by hiring an experienced wrongful death lawyer who will file a claim on behalf of the deceased person’s estate.

    This process involves proving negligence caused the fatality, documenting the impact on surviving family members, and seeking compensation for losses such as funeral costs, lost wages, and emotional suffering.

  • What types of compensation are available in wrongful death cases resulting from car accidents?

    In wrongful death cases from car accidents, compensation may include medical expenses incurred before death, funeral and burial costs, lost future earnings, loss of companionship, and pain and suffering experienced by the deceased before death.

    Punitive damages may also be pursued if the defendant’s actions were especially reckless or malicious.

  • What evidence is needed to support a wrongful death claim?

    Supporting a wrongful death claim requires evidence such as police accident reports, witness statements, medical records, expert testimony on the cause of death, and documentation of the financial and emotional impact on the family.

    Evidence helps establish the fault of the negligent party and the extent of damages incurred.

  • How long do families have to file a wrongful death claim after a fatal car accident in Illinois?

    Families must adhere to the statute of limitations, which varies by state but generally ranges from one to three years from the date of the deceased’s death.

    In Illinois, a qualifying family member has two years to file a wrongful death claim after the accident.

    Consulting with a wrongful death attorney promptly can ensure that all legal actions are taken within the required timeframe to preserve the right to compensation.

Written By:
Tor Hoerman

Tor Hoerman

Owner & Attorney - TorHoerman Law

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