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Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, in the case of a child, parents can file a wrongful death lawsuit against the individual responsible for the death.

We work on a contingency basis which means you will not pay anything out of pocket or upfront. You will only pay if we win your lawsuit.

According to the Legal Information Institute, a wrongful death lawsuit is “a civil action against someone who can be held liable for a death.”

Wrongful Death Lawsuit Explained

The death of a loved one is never an easy thing to cope with. The emotional distress, funeral expenses, and general uncertainty can lead to a lot of stress, especially if your friend or family member died as a result of the negligence or carelessness of another.

In the legal world, if an individual dies because of a mistake, general carelessness, obvious negligence, or blatant disregard for that person’s safety, it is considered a wrongful death. “Wrongful death laws provide a civil remedy for survivors and representatives of the decedent,” according to It can then be pursued in a civil lawsuit.

Wrongful death lawsuits are any personal injury or negligence lawsuits filed on behalf of an individual who has passed away as a result of another party’s negligence or harmful actions. We know that a lawsuit will never fully erase the pain and suffering your family is enduring, but our goal is to help alleviate some of the financial burdens and hold the responsible parties, or individual, responsible.

If you have suffered the death of a loved one due to another person’s negligence or misconduct, an Edwardsville wrongful death attorney at TorHoerman Law is here to help.


Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?

There are specific laws in the state of Illinois that limit which parties can file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of a deceased individual. In order to file a wrongful death lawsuit, you must meet one or more of the following qualifications:

  • You are an immediate family member or close relative to the deceased individual.
  • You are a surviving spouse, life partner, or financial dependent of the deceased individuals.
  • You have suffered financial loss or financial burden as a direct result of the individual’s death.


Eligibility is not limited to this list, and special circumstances can arise in which others are eligible to take on the role. If you believe there is an extenuating circumstance, it is important to contact a wrongful death attorney right away if you have any questions regarding eligibility.


What is Considered a Wrongful Death?

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 types include:

  • Personal injury
  • Car accidents
  • Motorcycle accidents
  • Truck accidents
  • Medical malpractice
  • Birth defects
  • Nursing home abuse or neglect
  • Occupational accidents or exposure to hazards in the workplace
  • Criminal behavior such as assault or battery
  • Death during a supervised activity


Illinois has strict guidelines as to the time frame a lawsuit can be filed on behalf of your loved one after their death. A case must be filed within the time limit set for the underlying type of case, or within one year of the date of the deceased person’s death, “whichever date is the later,” according to 735 ILCS 5/13-209.

In simple terms, that means the lawsuit must be filed either within two years of the date of the accident or within one year of the death of your loved one. Essentially, you have two years to speak with a lawyer and file the case. But, if you fail to contact a lawyer in that time frame, you may lose your right to receive compensation as a judge may flat out refuse to hear the case because the deadline has passed.

It is very important to contact a wrongful death attorney Edwardsville very soon after your loved one has been injured and subsequently passed away. Remember, we are here to help you get through a trying time by relieving you of the stress of a lawsuit and get you and your family the compensation you deserve.


Proving Fault in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

In order to have a viable wrongful death case, you must be able to prove the following:

  • A human death did, in fact, occur.
  • The death was caused by the accused’s negligence or intent to do harm.
  • You, the plaintiff, suffered economic loss or strain as a result of the death.
  • There was an appointment of a personal representative for the deceased’s estate.


Criminal vs Civil Lawsuit

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

In most cases, the 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 a wrongful death lawsuit, the plaintiff must only prove that the defendant was responsible by a preponderance of the evidence.


Damages Awarded in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

  1. Economic Damages – The total value of financial contributions the victim would have made to the estate-holders if he or she had not died such as wages that would have been contributed, monetary care of children, or counseling expenses. Also, any costs associated with death, such as funeral expenses.
  2. Non-Economic Damages – non-tangible losses suffered by estate holders, such as emotional distress, pain and suffering, guidance that otherwise would have been provided, loss of care, and loss of consortium.
  3. Punitive Damages – Additional damages to punish the defendant for their negligent or aggravated actions.


While the above list mentions quite a few categories of damages, there are circumstances in which additional damages could be calculated to determine how much compensation families recover in a lawsuit. Once you initially discuss your case with your wrongful death lawyer in Edwardsville, Illinois, they will begin working on determining the amount of compensation you could receive.


Edwardsville Wrongful Death Lawyer

A loved one’s passing is never easy, but we want to help by taking the financial burden off your shoulders. If you believe your loved one died as a result of the negligence or carelessness of another, Edwardsville wrongful death attorneys can help.

Call or contact TorHoerman Law Firm for no obligation, free consultations on your wrongful death lawsuit.


Edwardsville, IL
(618) 223-5657
Cities We Serve

Alhambra, Alton, Bethalto, Collinsville, East Alton, Edwardsville, Godfrey, Glen Carbon, Granite City, Hamel, Hartford, Highland, Livingston, Madison, Marine, Maryville, New Douglas, Pontoon Beach, Roxana, South Roxana, St. Jacob, Troy, Venice, Wood River, Worden, Alorton, Belleville, Brooklyn, Cahokia, Caseyville, Centreville, Dupo, East Carondelet, East St. Louis, Fairmont City, Fairview Heights, Fayetteville, Freeburg, Lebanon, Marissa, Mascoutah, Millstadt, New Athens, O’Fallon, Sauget, Shiloh, Smithton, St. Libory, Swansea, Washington Park, Columbia, Hecker, Valmeyer, Waterloo, Grafton, Jerseyville, Aviston, Beckemeyer, Breese, Carlyle, Centralia, Germantown, New Baden, Trenton, Staunton

Counties We Serve

Madison, St. Clair, Bond, Calhoun, Clinton, Jersey, Macoupin, Monroe

More than $4 Billion Awarded
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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.

They helped my elderly uncle receive compensation for the loss of his wife who was administered a dangerous drug. He consulted with this firm because of my personal recommendation and was very pleased with the compassion, attention to detail and response he received. Definitely recommend this firm for their 5 star service.

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