Bolingbrook, IL Wrongful Death Lawyer

When someone dies under wrongful circumstances, usually due to another’s negligence, they and their surviving family deserve justice. Our attorneys can help you file a claim for wrongful death and get fair compensation for your tragic loss.

Wrongful death claims often come from situations involving fatal accidents. For example, car crashes, medical negligence, and defective goods or products are often involved in wrongful death lawsuits. You might want to march down to the courthouse right now and file a case, but things are not that simple. A personal representative of your deceased loved one’s estate must file the case. You and your family may be beneficiaries of the case. Damages in wrongful death cases are often substantial. Not only are pecuniary losses significant, but you may claim damages for emotional pain and turmoil. Punitive damages might also be available under certain circumstances. The court may determine how damages are divided among surviving family members.

Contact the Rhatigan Law Offices and speak to our wrongful death lawyers by calling (312) 578-8502 and ask for a free review of your case to get started.

How Wrongful Death Claims Often Arise in Bolingbrook, IL

Under the statute 740 I.L.C.S. § 180/1, a claim for wrongful death can come up if someone passes away because of the wrongful actions of another, and the deceased would have been legally entitled to sue for their injuries if they survived.

While every case is unique and must be handled as such, there are some common factors and circumstances that affect many wrongful death cases.

Fatal auto accidents are behind many wrongful death cases. Drivers have a legal duty to drive with reasonable safety under whatever the current circumstances happen to be (e.g., nighttime, daytime, rain, snow) while obeying traffic laws. A violation of this duty might cause a deadly accident.

Medical malpractice occurs when doctors provide medical treatment that falls below standards of care. It is often referred to as medical negligence. When patients die because of medical negligence, their families may sue doctors and hospitals in a lawsuit for wrongful death. In these cases, your loved one’s medical records are paramount to the case, and we need access to them as soon as possible.

When someone goes to use a good or product, but it malfunctions dangerously, the person might be badly injured or even killed. Dangerous products are a common cause of many wrongful deaths. In this kind of case, our wrongful death attorneys can help you sue the manufacturer of the faulty product.

People Eligible to File Wrongful Death Cases in Bolingbrook, IL

People sometimes assume that when a person passes away under wrongful circumstances, their family may file a lawsuit for wrongful death. While family members are certainly involved in the case, they are not the ones actually filing the case. In Illinois, according to 740 I.L.C.S. § 180/2(a), wrongful death cases must be filed by a personal representative of the deceased person and their estate.

A personal representative might be named by the deceased person in their will. Then again, there might be nobody designated as the personal representative. In such a case, we can petition the court to appoint someone as the personal representative to file the wrongful death case.

While the personal representative files the case, our team will work with you and your family to make sure all damages and losses are accounted for.

Available Damages in Wrongful Death Cases in Bolingbrook, IL

Damages in cases involving wrongful death tend to be high, as juries and courts take the loss of a human life extremely seriously. Compensatory damages may make up for your family’s financial losses related to the accident and your loved one’s passing. You can also claim non-economic injuries related to your pain and suffering. Punitive damages could be available, but only under very specific conditions.

Compensatory Damages

Your family may claim damages related to funeral and burial costs. Funerals are very expensive, and you should keep thorough records of all the funeral expenses. If your deceased loved one received medical treatment for their injuries before passing away, you can also claim those hospital bills.

Many families face financial hardship after the loss of a loved one. They no longer have their loved one’s income to rely on. This can be very serious if the deceased person was the primary income earner for their household. You may claim the loss of this financial support.

Non-economic damages tend to be related to emotional and psychological suffering. You can claim damages for your grief, sorrow, and overall mental suffering. These damages are more subjective and are decided by the jury.

Punitive Damages

Previously, punitive damages were not available in wrongful death cases in Illinois. However, this changed in August of 2023. A new law changed the old rules regarding punitive damages. House Bill 219 allows plaintiffs in wrongful death cases to claim punitive damages in cases filed on or after August 11, 2023.

Under 735 I.L.C.S. § 5/2-1115.05(b), punitive damages may be awarded only if we can show by clear and convincing evidence that the defendant had an evil motive or acted with outrageous or shocking indifference to others’ safety when they caused the accident leading to your loved one’s wrongful death.

Punitive damages are designed to punish defendants for such heinous behavior, and they can be quite substantial. Even so, there are limits to how high punitive damages may be. Under 735 I.L.C.S. § 5/2-1115.05(a), they are typically limited to 3 times the value of your total economic damages.

How Damages Are Divided Among Beneficiaries in Bolingbrook, IL Cases of Wrongful Death

When damages are awarded, it can be tricky to figure out how the damages award is split among family members and beneficiaries of the case. After all, different people might claim different types of damages and losses related to the wrongful death.

According to 735 I.L.C.S. § 180/2(b), damages may be divided as the court deems fit. Generally, the court awards damages based on your dependency or reliance on your family member. For example, a surviving spouse who depends on their spouse’s income will likely be awarded a larger sum than another family member who is not financially dependent on your deceased loved one. Immediate family members like kids and spouses are likelier to get larger percentages of the overall damages awarded.

Call Our Bolingbrook, IL Wrongful Death Attorneys for Help

Contact our wrongful death lawyers at the Rhatigan Law Offices by calling (312) 578-8502 and ask for a free review of your case to get started.