Des Plaines, IL Wrongful Death Lawyer

The distress of losing a family member can last for a long time, and grieving is never easy. This process may be made even more difficult if you lose your family member to wrongful conditions. An attorney can help you achieve justice.

Not just anyone may file a wrongful death case. Under the law, the action must be filed in the name of a personal representative of the deceased person, and certain family members may be included as beneficiaries of a damages award. Damages may include economic losses, like the loss of the deceased person’s income, and the pain, grief, and emotional distress that comes with losing a family member. Damages are usually distributed in a way determined by the courts on a case-by-case basis. It is important to talk to a lawyer quickly, as the time you have to bring a cause of action might be slipping away. We need as much time as possible to find evidence to support your claims and hopefully get justice and compensation for your family.

Get an initial, confidential case review for free by calling (312) 578-8502 and speaking to our wrongful death lawyers at the Rhatigan Law Offices.

Who May Bring a Case for Wrongful Death in Des Plaines, IL

While many potential plaintiffs can recognize that they might have a valid cause of action on their hands, they might not fully understand how to get their claims into court. Many other cases may be filed directly by the plaintiff with the help of a lawyer, but wrongful death cases are somewhat different. According to 740 I.L.C.S. § 180/2(a), a wrongful death case must be brought in the name of the deceased person’s personal representative.

Who exactly is the personal representative? The personal representative is often named in the deceased person’s will or other legal documents pertaining to end-of-life arrangements. The representative is often in charge of managing the deceased person’s estate and ensuring the will is properly executed. The personal representative might be a family member, like a spouse, a close friend, or even the deceased person’s lawyer. If you are unsure who the personal representative is in your case, talk to a lawyer. Our wrongful death attorneys can help you figure it out.

While the case is not filed in the name of any specific family member, unless they are the personal representative, they may be included as beneficiaries. This means that they are included in the lawsuit and may benefit from an award of damages. Generally, family members include a spouse and next of kin, such as children. Depending on their relationship with the deceased person, more distant family members might be included.

Damages Available in Des Plaines, IL Cases for Wrongful Death

Damages in claims for wrongful death are often quite large. Even if you are unsure about taking legal action, you should still talk to a lawyer about it, as there might be vast compensation on the table.

Possible Damages

Many damages in wrongful death cases are based on monetary losses. For example, if you lost your spouse, you might claim the value of their income as part of your damages. Had it not been for the defendant’s actions, you and your family would still be enjoying the benefits of your spouse’s income.

You should also claim the cost of medical expenses incurred by your family member before they passed away. This is common in accident cases where the deceased person received emergency medical care before ultimately expiring from their injuries.

Non-economic injuries are far more subjective yet might still be worth quite a bit of compensation. For example, you may claim your grief, sorrow, mental suffering, and other painful experiences that come with losing a loved one.

How Damages Are Distributed

If there are multiple beneficiaries in your case, you probably want to know how damages are divided among them. According to 740 I.L.C.S. § 180/2(b), damages are usually awarded to close family members, like a spouse and other next of kin. The court may determine each person’s share of the overall damages award by considering the proportion of each person’s loss.

Dependency may be described as a percentage. For example, A spouse might take the largest percentage of the damages award because they were the most dependent on the deceased person.

How Long After Your Loved One’s Passing Should You File a Claim for Wrongful Death in Des Plaines, IL?

Grieving takes time. The idea of initiating a lawsuit in the middle of mourning a lost family member might sound incredibly difficult. As such, many people wait a while before taking legal action. However, you should avoid waiting too long, as there is a time limit on when cases must be filed.

According to 740 I.L.C.S. § § 180/2(d)-(e), you must commence legal action for wrongful death no later than 2 years after your family member’s passing. It is crucial to understand that the limitation period begins on the date of death, not necessarily the date of the injuries. For example, if your family member were injured in an accident but lived for 2 weeks before passing away, the limitations period would begin the day they passed away, not the day they were initially injured.

If your family member’s passing was the result of violent intentional conduct, you have 5 years from the date of death to file your civil case. If the defendant is criminally convicted and charged, you may have 1 year from the date of the final disposition if the defendant is convicted of certain homicide-related offenses.

Evidence We Need to Back Up Your Claims for Wrongful Death in Des Plaines, IL

A major element of a wrongful death case is establishing the cause of the victim’s death. We might need to rely heavily on medical records and medical experts to do this. Medical records are especially important in cases where the cause of death is disputed. For example, a person might pass away shortly after being hurt in a car accident. However, the defendant might argue that the victim passed away because they had a heart attack during the accident caused by a pre-existing heart condition. We need medical records to prove what caused the person to pass away.

We need additional evidence that connects the defendant to the cause of death. Witnesses might be able to testify about seeing the accident unfold before them. We might also have video or photo evidence from an accident scene.

Evidence of damages is also important. If you want to claim the value of your deceased spouse’s income, we need evidence of their earnings. Pay stubs and banking information might be crucial.

Reach Out to Our Des Plaines, IL Wrongful Death Attorneys for Help

Get an initial, confidential case review for free by calling (312) 578-8502 and speaking to our wrongful death attorneys at the Rhatigan Law Offices.