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What is a Wrongful Death Case?
A wrongful death case exists when a person dies as a result of the negligent acts, omissions or wrongful conduct of another person or entity. Negligent acts, omissions or wrongful conduct are usually tortious in nature. Tortious acts expose the person or entity that commits the act to liability for the act or omission, and are either intentionally committed or occur as a result of negligence. For example, medical malpractice and motor vehicle accidents are each tortious acts that could result in an injury or the death of a victim.
The Illinois Wrongful Death Act
The IllinoisWrongful Death Act provides surviving family members of a deceased victim the opportunity to bring a legal action against the negligent party who caused the death of the deceased victim. Making a claim under the Wrongful Death Act requires the establishment of three elements, which include 1) that the suing party must show that the negligent party owed the deceased victim a legal duty; 2) that the legal duty was breached by the negligent party; and 3) that the surviving party (i.e., the named plaintiff or party that is suing on behalf of the deceased victim) sustained pecuniary damages due to the negligent party’s breached duty to the deceased victim.
Damages That May Be Sought In Wrongful Death Cases
There are no punitive damages for wrongful death cases, i.e., no damages in the form of punishment. Instead, the deceased’s family may seek pecuniary damages for their loss. Pecuniary damages are monetary damages and include the loss of money, goods, services and support. Damages can also be sought for the deceased victim’s medical expenses prior to death, funeral and burial expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering of the deceased’s surviving family members.
Do I Need An Attorney?
After the death of a loved one, you need time to grieve and to cope with your loss. By hiring an experienced wrongful death attorney, you can have him or her begin work on preserving your family’s rights while you take the time that you need to heal. The attorney can begin working on collecting evidence, documenting witness statements and building your case while you work through the tough situation of mourning your loved one. Also, since the statute of limitations for bringing a wrongful death action can vary based on the facts surrounding the case, an experienced wrongful death attorney will be able to assess those facts and make a determination as to what the statute of limitations is for your claim.
Contacting a Wrongful Death Attorney
If your loved one has died due to the negligence of another, your family may have a wrongful death claim against the negligent party. An experienced wrongful death attorney will be able to help you establish your legal rights under the law and will fight for the compensation you deserve while you mourn the loss of your loved one. Contact Willens Law Offices today for a free consultation. We are available either online or by calling 877-958-6564.