Chicago Wrongful Death Attorney Serving Cook County and DuPage County
The sudden or unexpected loss of a loved one is a tragic event that often leaves the surviving family members not only struggling with their grief but also facing significant medical or funeral expenses and having to find a way to make up for the lost income or contributions of an important member of the family. While no amount of compensation can make up for the loss of a loved one, it would be unjust to force family members to bear the burden of increased costs and financial losses without holding the responsible party or parties accountable for the damage they have done. Chicago wrongful death attorney John Fairman fights to hold those responsible parties accountable and recover compensation for the benefit of families left in the lurch after a tragic loss.
What is “wrongful death”?
According to the Illinois Wrongful Death Act, a wrongful death action is available any time a person’s death is caused by the neglect, default or wrongful act of another. Basically, if the deceased would have had a personal injury claim had he or she only been injured and not killed, then the law allows for a wrongful death action to be brought in court.
Just as in a lawsuit for personal injury, the Illinois doctrine of comparative negligence applies. In other words, if it can be proven that the deceased was partially responsible for the accident, then any amount recovered will be reduced in proportion to the amount of fault attributed to the deceased. Furthermore, if the other side can convince the jury that the deceased was more than 50% to blame, then no recovery at all will be allowed. Fighting allegations of comparative negligence can be especially difficult in a wrongful death action, where the deceased is not around to defend himself or herself.
Who can bring a wrongful death action?
A wrongful death lawsuit in Illinois is brought by the personal representative of the estate for the benefit of the surviving spouse and next of kin of the deceased. Any amounts recovered are distributed to family members in proportion to how dependent they were on the deceased.
What types of compensation can be recovered?
The Illinois Wrongful Death Act states that the jury can award whatever it thinks is “fair and just” for the losses of the spouse and other family members regarding the pecuniary injuries they suffered. Pecuniary or financial losses could include hospital and other medical expenses, funeral and burial expenses, and the loss of income and household support the deceased would have provided. The law also specifically allows the jury to award damages for the family members’ grief, sorrow and mental suffering.
Get Professional Legal Help with Illinois Wrongful Death Matters
If you have lost a loved one due to the negligence, recklessness or other wrongful conduct of another, contact Chicago wrongful death attorney John Fairman at Lee & Fairman, LLP in Homewood at 708-799-4848 for a no-cost consultation regarding your claim.