The unexpected death of a loved one is a challenging experience for family members. When someone else’s negligence causes the death, family members can pursue compensation and justice for their loved one.
The wrongful death lawyers at Nessler & Associates can help families who have lost loved ones in accidents caused by others. We believe these families deserve compassionate service and a fair settlement for the loss of their loved ones.
What is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
You can file a wrongful death claim if your loved one would have been able to file a personal injury claim had they not suffered an untimely death. Illinois has two laws that let family members recover restitution.
Illinois Wrongful Death Act
The Illinois Wrongful Death Act lets surviving family members obtain compensation if their loved ones died because of another’s wrongful act, neglect, or default. The jury determines what damages are fair compensation for the responsible party to pay for the loved one’s surviving spouse and next of kin. These damages can include compensation for mental suffering and sorrow.
If the victim does not have surviving family members, medical staff members in charge of the victim’s hospitalization care and personal representatives can receive compensation. Healthcare members who provided hospitalization and medical care services for the victim’s last injury can receive compensation up to $450. Personal representatives can be compensated for the administration of the estate and the legal fees. These fees should not exceed $900 and costs for attorney fees.
Illinois Survival Act
In contrast to the Wrongful Death Act, which concerns the surviving family members, the Illinois Survival Act protects the rights of the deceased loved one to pursue legal claims even after their death.
The law allows family members to establish an estate for their lost loved one to recover any damages your loved one could have claimed if they had survived their injuries, such as lost income, medical bills, and personal property damages.
Is Comparative Law a Factor in Illinois Wrongful Death Lawsuits?
Illinois follows modified comparative negligence to determine financial compensation in a lawsuit. If your loved one was at fault for over 50% of the accident, you may not pursue a wrongful death or survival claim.
You might recover damages if your deceased loved one’s fault is less than 50%. However, how much responsibility your loved one bears may reduce the damages you recover.
For instance, if the other party was 70% at fault for the accident and your loved one had 30% liability, you can collect damages in a lawsuit. However, you may only receive 70% of the damages from the other responsible party.
It is best to consult with an Illinois wrongful death attorney to help you file your claims under Illinois’ wrongful death and survival laws. They can guide you on determining which law would be applicable in your case. Your attorney can also develop a legal strategy to prove the percentage of fault in the accident, so you and your family can receive a fair settlement for your loved one’s wrongful death.
Are Accidents a Leading Cause of Death in Illinois?
The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) defines fatal unintentional injuries stemming from motor vehicle accidents, drowning, poisoning, traumatic brain injuries, and fall-related incidents. The IDBH ranks the following for causes of death in the state:
In the United States, fatal unintentional deaths are the fourth leading cause of death, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These deaths are attributed to the following three causes:
|Unintentional poisoning deaths||87,404|
|Fatal motor vehicle accidents||40,698|
Common Causes of Wrongful Death Accidents in Illinois
Taking legal action for wrongful death usually arises from activities people take that do not align with their duties to protect others. These are among the common reasons for wrongful deaths.
The Illinois Occupational Health and Safety Act requires employers to provide reasonable protection for their employees’ lives, health, and safety. However, an employer may fail to provide personal protective equipment and enact safety measures to prevent injuries and falls. In Illinois, 17.8% of workplace accidents stemmed from falls, trips, and slips, while 40.7% of workplace accidents involved transportation.
According to Illinois’ premises liability law, you can hold property owners who fail to maintain a safe environment accountable for your loved one’s accident. For example, failure to remove ice and maintain floors can cause slip and fall accidents.
Older Americans are six times more likely to go into the emergency room as a result of falls on flooring, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Falls result in 1,800 deaths every year among older adults.
When manufacturers fail to properly add warning labels to their products before they’re sold on the market, consumers can suffer serious injuries and even die from using those products. If the manufacturer knew of product defects but did nothing to correct them, they can be held liable for your loved one’s death.
Motor Vehicle Accident
An accident can result from negligent driving by distracted or intoxicated drivers. In a survey of drunk driving behavior, Illinois residents self-reported 475 incidents of impaired driving per 1,000 people. You may be able to pursue a wrongful death or survival claim if you believe your loved one died in a car accident due to a negligent driver.
Illinois’ Dram Shop Act can hold the establishment accountable for overserving the driver if a drunk driver comes from a bar or restaurant and causes a fatal accident. Therefore, the establishment’s operator is responsible for any damages resulting from that intoxicated patron’s actions.
Dog Bite Attacks
Dog bite victims can die from infections caused by bacteria in the dog’s saliva, such as Capnocytophaga. They may also suffer multiple wounds and lacerations resulting in death after a dog bite attack. According to the National Canine Research Council, over 70.4% of fatal dog bites from 2000 to 2015 involved resident dogs that don’t reside in the family home. These dogs lived separately and lacked positive human interactions to adjust their behaviors.
In Illinois, dog owners are strictly liable for all damage caused by a dog, regardless of whether they knew or didn’t know of their dog’s aggressive behaviors. If you lose a loved one due to a dog bite attack, you may be entitled to compensation for wrongful death damages from the dog’s owner.
Medical practitioners have to meet the standard of care for their specialties. If your loved one dies because of medical malpractice or negligence at a hospital or clinic, you may be able to file a wrongful death suit against those responsible for your loved one’s death. Claims can also be brought for medical mistakes that result in the worsening of a condition leading to death, such as misdiagnosis of cancer.
The legal team at Nessler & Associates has extensive experience with each type of wrongful death action. If you have questions regarding your ability to file a legal claim, contact us for a free initial consultation.
Why You Should Work with a Wrongful Death Attorney
The lawyers at Nessler & Associates can help you understand your case’s technical details. Hiring a lawyer for your wrongful death case gives you access to legal advice and representation when dealing with the insurance companies and other parties involved in your case.
Investigate Your Wrongful Case
To qualify for a lawsuit, you must have evidence showing the other party had a duty of care that they failed to meet, resulting in the deceased person’s injuries. As part of our investigation, our lawyers can collect and assess evidence to find out the cause of your loved one’s wrongful death. We may consult with expert witnesses, such as medical professionals and safety experts, to verify how the accident led to your loved one’s death.
Review the Applicable Insurance Coverages
The amount you can recover in your settlement depends on the insurance policy’s limits. To determine if you qualify for a claim, we can review the relevant insurance coverages from the other party, such as their auto insurance policy’s bodily injury limits that cover the deaths of other drivers and passengers.
Negotiate with the Insurance Companies
Insurance companies may attempt to minimize your settlement by attempting to prove your loved one was liable for the accident. They may also offer you low compensation that does not cover the medical bills or the intangible losses of your family member. We can reach a fair settlement with the insurance company that compensates you and your family’s economic and non-economic damages.
File a Lawsuit in Court
If needed, we can take your case to court and argue for wrongful death compensation on your family’s behalf. The court can hold a hearing to determine each claimant’s dependency level on the deceased person to decide how much of the award or settlement each person will receive. We can apply Illinois’ wrongful death and survival laws to help you understand how they apply to you and your family members.
Can I Afford an Attorney to Handle My Wrongful Death Action?
Nessler & Associates work on a contingency fee basis, meaning you don’t have to pay until we win your case. A contingency agreement with your lawyer involves paying them a percentage of any recovery. This percentage can range from one-third to 40%.
Contingency fee agreements allow those unable to afford legal fees to pursue their claims without the financial burden. The lawyer is also vested in maximizing your compensation since a successful settlement increases the lawyer’s compensation. This agreement ensures fairness to both parties.
When you work with us, you will not have to pay any wrongful death attorneys’ fees unless your case is successful.
What Damages Can Be Recovered in a Wrongful Death Accident Case?
You can recover damages for economic and non-economic losses. The different types of damages in your wrongful death claim can include:
Economic damages cover financial losses, including medical bills and funeral and burial expenses. Depending on their sustained injuries, your loved one might have accrued substantial medical bills. Compensation for damages should cover these medical expenses in addition to future loss of wages.
Spouses, children, and parents can claim compensation for non-economic losses, including:
- Loss of services refers to the loss of household help and childcare
- Loss of society entails the deprivation of love, companionship, affection, and care your loved one’s death caused
- Loss of companionship consists of losing the psychological and emotional components in your relationship
- Loss of consortium encompasses the lack of physical intimacy of the relationship
- Loss of instruction or guidance refers to the children’s loss of parental support and guidance
- Mental anguish covers the emotional loss of losing your loved one, such as a parent, spouse, or child
Working with the personal injury attorneys at Nessler & Associates can help you hold the negligent party or company responsible and win a fair settlement.
How to Prove a Wrongful Death Claim in Illinois
To receive compensation, you and your family members must prove that the other party was negligent and caused the death. These four elements are crucial in establishing a wrongful death lawsuit in Illinois.
The other party must have owed a duty of care to your loved one. This involves proving that the responsible party was somehow liable for the death.
When a product leaves the manufacturer, the manufacturer has a duty to warn and educate consumers of a product’s dangers to the best of their knowledge.
You must then establish that the other party somehow breached the duty of care they owed to the deceased loved one.
The manufacturer failed to add warnings and instructions on how to use the product.
The wrongful death resulted from the other party’s direct or indirect actions.
If the other party had not failed to add warning labels, the deceased victim would not have suffered injuries from the product and died.
The other party’s actions resulted in economic damages and non-economic losses.
Under Illinois’ Survival Act, the family can establish an estate to claim $25,000 in compensation for the victim’s medical expenses, lost wages, and mental distress before dying from their injuries.
Nessler and Associates’ Winning Track Record
Our law firm has a winning track record, obtaining millions of dollars in damages for our clients. Some of our successful cases include:
- $1.1. million for the wrongful death of a minor who fell into a sewage lagoon. The property owner’s insurance company initially offered a $50,000 settlement. We protected our client’s right to fair compensation by taking the case to trial, where we won a $1.1 million verdict.
- $3.5 million for a 76-year-old client who suffered neurological injuries after a radiologist administered an improper contrast dye.
- $15 million for the family of a 13-year-old with a severe, permanent traumatic brain injury from a rollover car accident.
An Illinois Attorney Can Help with Your Wrongful Death Claim
Let the experienced attorneys with Nessler & Associates carry the legal burden of your action for damages while you focus on rebuilding your life. We can help you navigate the legal system and fight for justice and help recover compensation for your family.
We work on a contingency fee basis because we believe everyone deserves access to quality legal representation, regardless of income. Our fee structure means you do not pay unless we win.
Contact the law offices of Nessler & Associates at (800) 727-8010 to schedule a complimentary, no-risk consultation.