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Compensation Available to Survivors of a Wrongful Death

Posted on in Personal Injury

Kane County wrongful death lawyerIt is hard to lose a loved one, even if they die from natural causes after having lived a long and meaningful life. When someone’s time is cut short, however, the pain, loss, and grieving is magnified – especially when death has been caused by another’s negligence or intentionally bad conduct. Besides the immense grief and realization that nothing can bring a loved one back, many individuals and families must deal with the stark reality of the loss of support, both financial and emotional, provided by the work, income, and participation in family responsibilities of the lost loved one. When grief is coupled with tenuous financial straits, survivors of the wrongful death of a family member can seek compensation from the person or entity responsible. 

Defining Wrongful Death in Illinois

In general, a wrongful death occurs whenever an individual is killed because of someone’s intentionally wrongful or negligent conduct. More specifically, in the precise legal language of Illinois state law, “whenever the death of a person shall be caused by wrongful act, neglect or default, and the act, neglect or default is such as would, if death had not ensued, have entitled the party injured to maintain an action and recover damages,” the individual or entity (e.g. business or other institution) that caused the death may be held liable in a wrongful death suit in civil court.

Eligible Survivors of a Wrongful Death Victim

Only certain close relatives are eligible to seek compensation under the state’s wrongful death statute. These relatives include:

  • A spouse of the deceased;
  • An adult child of the deceased; or
  • A parent of a deceased minor child.

Any one of these eligible survivors may serve as a personal representative of the deceased person’s estate, whether they were named as the executor of the deceased person’s will or were appointed by the court. Only an official personal representative of the deceased person may file a wrongful death claim in Illinois.

Damages Available to Survivors of a Wrongful Death 

Illinois law states that a jury in a wrongful death lawsuit should award whatever financial damages they deem to be fair and just compensation for the loss of the deceased. These damages can include actual financial losses, such as medical bills, lost income or benefits, and funeral expenses, as well as damages for “grief, sorrow, and mental suffering.” 

If your family member has been killed because of someone’s actions or negligence, the attorneys of Ariano Hardy Ritt Nyuli Richmond Lytle & Goettel P.C. can help you understand your rights and work to ensure that you are properly compensated for your loss. Contact a Kane County wrongful death attorney at 847-695-2400 to schedule a free initial consultation.

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=2059&ChapterID=57

Illinois State Bar Association DuPage County Bar Association Kane County Bar Association DeKalb Bar Association
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