Wrongful death cases arise whenever wrongful conduct causes a person’s death. The Illinois Wrongful Death Act exists to compensate the family of the deceased person for their “loss of society” or their lost relationship with the deceased person. The Wrongful Death Act also allows families to recover the income and other benefits the deceased person would have contributed to the family.
The Chicago wrongful death lawyers of Hurley McKenna & Mertz, P.C. have obtained record-setting jury verdicts and settlements in wrongful death cases. Our firm has also successfully obtained impressive wrongful death awards for our clients in virtually every type of case we handle, including auto accidents, medical malpractice cases, product liability cases, nursing home abuse and neglect cases, premises liability cases, and construction accidents.
The Wrongful Death Claims Process
Wrongful death claims are typically filed by spouses, children and other family members that are close to the victim. When filing a wrongful death suit, there may be multiple parties that are negligent in a person’s death. For example, in cases when someone is killed by a drunk driver, the driver, the establishment that provided the alcohol and the driver’s employer (if on the job at the time of the incident) are all potentially responsible parties.
Jurisdiction is another important consideration before filing the claim. Depending on the circumstances, there may be multiple jurisdictions wherein the suit could be brought. The plaintiff should choose the one that is most likely to view the case favorably. The plaintiff’s legal team must also conduct a thorough investigation of the incident to build a strong case that the responsible parties are indeed negligent in the death of the plaintiff’s lost loved one.
Damages Available in Wrongful Death Claims
Damages can be sought in wrongful death lawsuits for several injuries/losses, including:
- Pre-death medical costs and funeral expenses
- Lost wages of the deceased
- Lost inheritance
- Lost support – financially and emotionally
- Loss of love and companionship
- Loss of care or protection
- Lost services
- Grief and mental anguish
Additional punitive damages can also be awarded in cases when the negligent party’s actions are found to be so egregious that they must be punished to deter them from committing the same (or similar) acts against others.
If someone else’s wrongful behavior has caused the death of your loved one, contact an experienced Chicago wrongful death attorney at HM&M immediately. Acting quickly to protect your rights helps to preserve evidence and ultimately makes your chances of obtaining justice that much better. Most wrongful death cases are subject to strict statutes of limitations that vary by state. For this reason, it is important to take action right away to secure justice for your lost loved one.