The personal injury attorneys at Johnson, Westra, Broecker, Whittaker & Newitt, P.C. represent people in the greater Chicago area who have been injured in a car or truck accident, a slip and fall or other incident caused by the negligence or wrongful conduct of another. Sometimes, the victim of another’s negligence does not survive. In appropriate instances, our lawyers pursue wrongful death claims against those responsible on behalf of the surviving family members.
Illinois Wrongful Death Law
Illinois law states that when a person dies due to the neglect, default or wrongful act of another that would have entitled the person to file a personal injury claim had he or she lived, then the personal representatives of the deceased may bring a wrongful death action and seek compensation for the damages caused.
A wrongful death action is brought by the personal representative for the benefit of the surviving spouse and next of kin of the deceased. The jury in a wrongful death lawsuit is authorized to award whatever compensation it deems to be fair and just for the losses suffered by the spouse and other family members. The jury can consider and award compensation for damages such as grief, sorrow and mental suffering.
As in the case of a personal injury claim, the defendant cannot escape liability by claiming that the deceased person was also negligent and contributed to the accident. However, if the jury is convinced that the deceased was partly to blame, the amount of any judgment will be reduced in proportion to the percentage of negligence allocated to the deceased by the jury. Yet as long as the deceased was not found to be more than 50% at fault, the surviving family members can still recover wrongful death damages.
In most cases, a wrongful death lawsuit must be filed within two years from the date of death, although this time frame may be extended if the defendant is being charged with a criminal offense for the incident, or if the next of kin of the deceased is under 18 years old at the time. Though this may seem like a long time, it can pass by unnoticed by bereaved family members whose time is consumed dealing with their grief, handling tax and probate matters, and trying to get their lives back in order following such a traumatic and disruptive event.
Let Experienced Personal Injury attorneys Handle Your Wrongful Death Situation
It is important to contact an attorney as soon as possible, not only to make sure that any lawsuit is filed in a timely manner, but also so that important evidence from the incident can be discovered and preserved before it is gone. Dealing with the loss of a loved one is hard enough without the additional financial burden so often imposed by such a loss. Let experienced personal injury and wrongful death lawyers work to make sure you are compensated for your loss to the extent possible. In Chicago and surrounding areas, contact Johnson, Westra, Broecker, Whittaker & Newitt, P.C. for assistance.