Wrongful Death Attorney in Chicago
If a loved one recently passed away due to the negligence of another person or entity, you may be feeling alone, overwhelmed, and most of all, angry. These are all perfectly normal emotions to be feeling. However, they will not help you right the wrong: What will is a wrongful death lawsuit.
A wrongful death lawsuit in Illinois can be brought by an aggrieved family member or friend, or an estate administrator or unrelated third party. The basis of a wrongful death suit is that the deceased died prematurely and at the hands of a negligent person.
If you want to learn more about your rights for filing a wrongful death claim in Chicago or more about the wrongful death claim process in general, reach out to the Chicago wrongful death lawyers at Michael T. Friedman & Associates to discuss your options today.
Who can Bring a Wrongful Death Claim in Illinois?
Unlike in several other states, several different individuals or even entities have the right to pursue a wrongful death suit against a negligent party. Those individuals include:
Next of Kin
According to the Illinois Wrongful Death Act, a relative of the deceased may file a wrongful death claim against the negligent party. “Next of kin” refers to the decedent’s surviving spouse, children, and adopted children. If there is no spouse or children, the deceased’s parents or adoptive parents may be considered next of kin. In the absence of spouse, children, and parents, other relatives may be considered next of kin. That said, the settlement award is distributed based on the percentage of financial and emotional dependency a family member had on the deceased individual.
If a deceased person does not have any surviving heirs, a wrongful death suit can still be brought on his or her behalf by the person’s estate administrator, a lawyer, or, as was the case with William Brinkman, a financial institution. If the case is successful, proceeds go not to the person or entity who brought the suit, but to the following:
- The person or entity who last provided medical services that were in connection with the last illness or injury of the deceased person;
- The person or entity who last provided surgical services in connection with the last illness or injury of the deceased person; and
- The personal representative, for the costs and expenses associated with managing the estate and bringing about the suit, including reasonable attorney fees.
What is Involved in a Wrongful Death Claim
In order to bring a wrongful death lawsuit, you must prove four elements to be true. Those include:
- The death of another human being;
- The death was caused by another person’s negligence and/or that the person who caused the death did so with the intent to harm;
- The death caused a family member or dependent of the deceased to suffer financially; and
- A personal representative has been appointed for the decedent’s estate.
Damages in a Wrongful Death Claim
Damages in a wrongful death claim differ slightly than those in a typical personal injury claim, namely because the injured party is not around to live with the consequences of the negligent party’s actions. Whereas a typical personal injury claim might yield compensation for lost wages, medical expenses, and pain and suffering, a wrongful death claim may yield compensation for loss of support, services, and prospective inheritance. It may also yield punitive damages as a way to punish the wrongful party.
Discuss Your Options for Recovery With a Chicago Wrongful Death Lawyer
Whether you are the surviving heir of a deceased individual or an interested party, and if you believe that the deceased was the victim of wrongful death, call the wrongful death attorneys at Michael T. Friedman & Associates to discuss your legal options. Keep in mind that you only have two years from the date of the person’s death to file, so do not hesitate and contact our office today.