Mr. Doyle has written a consumer guide to wrongful death suits in Illinois called Losing a Loved One: A Family’s Guide to Illinois Wrongful Death Lawsuits. To obtain a FREE copy of Mr. Doyle’s book, click on the book cover on the right side of this page or call our office at (312) 263-1080. In his book, Mr. Doyle sets forth some of the basic information that families in wrongful death suits need to know and more, including:
When a family member is killed in any kind of Illinois accident there is a potential for a case of wrongful death in Chicago. The liability of the person responsible for the death is determined by the law for that type of case, such as for car accidents, truck accidents, slip and fall cases, FELA cases, construction accidents, medical malpractice cases, and any other type of case involving an unsafe product or other case which results in fatal injuries.Components of an Illinois Wrongful Death Case There are two parts to a wrongful death case:
- The survival action - for the conscious pain and suffering and other damages the deceased person suffered before his or her death.
- The wrongful death case - this is brought by the surviving family members seeking compensation for their losses.
The Illinois Wrongful Death Act This law provides that the next of kin are permitted to receive compensation for pecuniary injuries resulting from the wrongful death of their family member in a fatal Illinois accident. The term pecuniary injuries refers to:
- The economic support that the next of kin would have received during the lifetime of the deceased.
- The loss of society of the person who was killed. This means the loss of the family relationship.
The Illinois Wrongful Death Act was recently amended to allow the surviving families to recover compensation for their grief.
Who files the wrongful death lawsuit?
Only one person is permitted to control the claim for wrongful death in Chicago. If the deceased had a will, the executor of the estate would control the wrongful death suit. The executor has a legal obligation to protect all beneficiaries of the estate, and this means he or she has the duty to file a wrongful death suit if the facts warrant doing so.
If the deceased had no will, a family member must be appointed as special administrator of the estate. The special administrator, like the executor, has an obligation to protect the interests of all the beneficiaries of the estate.
Damages Recoverable Through an Illinois Wrongful Death Lawsuit
The total amount of damages recoverable in an Illinois accident resulting in death includes:
- pain and suffering;
- medical expenses;
- lost wages sustained prior to death;
- loss of economic support;
- loss of society sustained by the next of kin; and
- the grief experienced by the surviving next of kin.
The total dollar figure will vary from case to case, but the standard jury instructions given in every wrongful death case state that the law presumes the amount of damages sustained is substantial. There are also medical bill payment laws your Illinois accident lawyer will make sure are followed in seeking your settlement.
An Illinois accident lawyer from the Law Offices of Barry G. Doyle, P.A. is able to identify key witnesses who can establish the amounts of pain and suffering prior to death. Poor witnesses are often medical personnel whose names appear in medical records only as a scrawled notation or an initial. Our strategy is to provide witnesses who can testify as to the final moments before death, providing a more powerful testimony.
Showing the Family’s Loss
An experienced Illinois accident lawyer will explore the full extent of the economic losses a family sustains as a result of the death of a parent, spouse, child, or sibling. At trial, we show the jury how important the lost family member was through photos, videos, and stories. These show the value of each of us to our families.
Statute of limitations
The Illinois statute of limitations for personal injury and cases of wrongful death in Chicago is determined by the statute of limitations in Illinois for the underlying case.
For most cases, it is 2 years, but only 1 year for cases involving municipalities and other local governmental units. Your Illinois accident lawyer should be well-versed in the time limits for wrongful death in Chicago as well as other areas of Illinois. Careful investigation is often required to ensure a full recovery, so when you suspect that there is a basis for a wrongful death lawsuit after a fatal Illinois accident, you should act as quickly as possible.