The death of a family member is traumatic and stressful. If your loved one's death was due to the negligent conduct of another, anger often occurs. A need for justice may be present. The living have to go on with their lives, trying to do what needs to be done daily and make sense of everything that led to that moment. As the stages of grief progress: going from anger, sadness, bargaining, denial, and acceptance there is still the matter of someone missing from your life. A Chicago wrongful death attorney cannot undo the tragedy, but they can work towards obtaining compensation for a wrongful death case.
- What is a Wrongful Death?
- Common Causes
- Medical Negligence
- Determining Damages Resulting from Wrongful Death
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Who Can Sue for Wrongful Death in Illinois?
- How Can I Pay for an Attorney?
- How Long Do I Have to File a Death Claim in Illinois?
- What Are Common Causes of Wrongful Death Accidents in Chicago and Illinois?
- Contact a Wrongful Death Attorney
Speak with Blumenshine Law Group's Wrongful Death Attorneys
If you lost a loved one due to negligence, contact Blumenshine Law Group at (312) 766-1000 for a free consultation. Our experienced Chicago attorneys can help grieving families pursue wrongful death and survival claims to obtain compensation and accountability through litigation or negotiations.
What is a Wrongful Death?
Wrongful death is a legal claim process. Accidents are a leading cause of injuries leading to death all around the world. A wrongful death case seeks to hold another responsible for the loss of a family member. A wrongful death is when death is the result of negligence or knowingly causing the death of a person. Sometimes a wrongful death suit is pursued when criminal charges have failed to result in a conviction of someone responsible for this death. Here are some common fatal personal injuries which can be attributed to wrongful death.
Consider a free consultation with a Chicago wrongful death attorney listed here for more information.
If your family member survived for a period of time between the injury and death, damages may also be awarded for conscious pain and suffering. When the death was caused by an intentional or willful act, wrongful death claims may also be pursued.
Common Causes of Wrongful Death
Here are some common causes of wrongful death and some examples of each. This list is by no means exhaustive. If any of these resonate with you and your situation, you need to contact an attorney. A Chicago wrongful death lawyer can help determine which causes may apply in your case.
- Negligence and reckless behavior: Erratic driving, improper use of flammable materials or chemicals, unsafe handling of firearms, or other dangerous activities resulting in death are all considered.
- Premises accidents: Accidental death from jumping on trampolines, swimming pool accidents such as drowning or spinal/brain injuries, or animal attacks could be a basis for a wrongful death lawsuit.
- Dangerous products: Companies that create products have a responsibility to provide safe and reliable products to their clientele. When this trust is broken and a person loses their life, the companies need to provide compensation for wrongful death due to their faulty products.
- Vehicle accidents: Cars, buses, boats, airplanes, and other vehicle accidents resulting in the end of someone's life can be considered wrongful death suits in the right circumstances. Intoxicated drivers, distracted driving, unlawful operation of a vehicle, and many other circumstances resulting in death can be considered.
- Recalled products: From motor vehicles to baby furniture, some products can be very dangerous, and ordinary use can yield tragic results. Too many times these deaths could have been prevented with adequate testing and quality control, but someone lost their life as a result of a company trying to save money on production.
- Accidental death in the workplace: From office jobs to construction sites, every employer has a responsibility to uphold the safety of their work environment, either by providing adequate training, safety equipment, or means of escaping dangerous work conditions safely. Many accidents resulting in death can be attributed to an employer cutting corners to save money on these expenses. No one's life is worth any amount of money a company saves at the risk of a person's health and safety and these businesses must be held accountable.
- Prescription drug deaths: Before being released to the market, prescription drugs must undergo a series of rigorous tests to determine any harmful side effects, unintended reactions, and potential harm to those who are being treated with these drugs. Quality control and purity of ingredients are important in being able to gauge the safety of these drugs and the potential harm they might do. Many drugs fail at some point in the process, unintentionally killing those who have been using them, believing them to be safe or helpful. Digging deeper sometimes reveals a drug company was well aware of the dangers, but proceeded in promoting these drugs anyway.
- Nursing home abuse and neglect: Our disabled and older loved ones sometimes require full-time care in facilities that are thought to be safe places for them to live out their lives with exceptional medical care as well as quiet enjoyment. When people die as a result of nursing home abuse and neglect, those who need to be held liable are often at fault for hiring dangerous people to save money, ignoring background checks to employ cheap staff, or simply cutting resources to line their pockets at the expense of a loved one's health and safety.
Worthy of its own category, wrongful death related to medical negligence claims a disproportionate number of lives every year. Whether it is the elderly or someone in the prime of their life, people are told to trust their doctors for their health and safety. Sometimes things go wrong and a loved one's life is cut short at the hands of a person they had trusted the most. Here are some causes of wrongful death due to medical negligence.
- Inaccurate diagnosis: With all of the information gathered from tests and professional diagnosis, negligence can arise whenever doctors hastily make assessments and ignore the information they have at hand. Misdiagnosis can be deadly, especially if obvious symptoms are ignored or the patient is disregarded.
- Delay of treatment: Waiting and seeing is hardly a clinical method and more often than not shows negligence on the part of the physician. When steps to deal with an urgent situation are put off to the point of no longer being effective, people die. Doctors whose negligence has resulted in the death of their patients need to be held liable.
- Medical Malpractice: Errors performed during surgery are unfortunately common. Instruments are sometimes left inside patients during procedures, unethical methods are used during operations, and criminal conduct such as operating under the influence of drugs or alcohol pushes negligence well into the realm of malpractice.
- Device malfunction: Medical equipment needs to be serviced, maintained, and properly sterilized regularly to ensure the safety of patients. When devices break down or malfunction and cause significant injuries resulting in death, it is the family of the deceased who has to put the pieces of their lives back together again.
- Wrong medicine prescribed: A lot of training and education go into establishing an effective medical practice. Every doctor should be aware of how medicines interact with their patients as well as the illnesses they are supposed to be treating. Improper administration of medicines, ignoring allergies, drug interactions, and prescribing the wrong medicine for treatment can be serious and often deadly.
Determining Damages Resulting from Wrongful Death
Many factors go into determining a settlement amount for compensation in a wrongful death suit. Many cases are settled out of court through vigorous litigation negotiation with insurance companies of hospitals, doctors, and clinics. Unfortunately, insurance companies are far from generous when distributing compensation for personal injuries resulting in wrongful death claims. The process may be long and stressful, and insurers are usually only concerned with protecting their bottom line and offering lowball settlements. They often allege that the death was the fault of the person who has died.
The more information a Chicago wrongful death attorney has regarding the case, the more leverage they will have when it comes to negotiation and arguing the case before a jury in a court of law.
- Hospital bills and treatment: From initial first responder treatment to surgery and hospitalization, medical bills are very expensive, with the burden of payment falling onto the responsibility of the estate of the person who has passed away.
- Loss of income/future income: Financial support of a family often depends on one or two sources of income, and for the bereaved, not only have they lost a loved one, but also financial stability. The loss of income and potential income in the future demands that need to be met to ensure the security of the survivors.
- Pain and Suffering: Watching a loved one go through the physical and emotional trauma of the dying process is an awful experience. Their suffering needs to be met with compensation from those responsible.
- Emotional support: Companionship, mentorship, and the fundamental emotional connection the person who has died will be forever lost with their death. For those who remain, no award can ever truly fill that void, but it can help them try to recoup what has been lost in other ways.
- Life expectancy: Especially important for young, healthy people who have their whole lives ahead of them, wrongful death robs them of everything they have or will ever have. The potential of income, quality of life, and years ahead of them being able to share in the emotional and economic responsibilities have been stopped long before their time should have been up.
- Punitive damages: A Chicago wrongful death attorney will be able to study the information regarding the case and decide whether punitive damages are a possibility. These penalties against the perpetrator of the wrongful act are a way to enforce the law by hitting an organization, corporation, or private citizen where it hurts most: in the bank account.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who Can Sue for Wrongful Death in Illinois?
According to the Wrongful Death Act, Illinois statutes allow for next of kin such as children or the spouse of the deceased to sue for wrongful death. In the absence of children or a spouse, next of kin who are eligible to file a wrongful death suit may be surviving siblings or parents of the deceased. Next of kin is appointed by the court as the person responsible for filing suit on behalf of the estate of the deceased.
How Can I Pay for an Attorney?
The Chicago attorneys at Blumenshine Law Group are paid on a contingency basis. The firm typically advances litigation costs. Meeting with an attorney will provide the person filing suit for the estate with vital information. A percentage of the award or settlement amount will go towards paying for attorney's fees and expenses.
How Long Do I Have to File a Death Claim in Illinois?
In most cases, in Illinois, the statute of limitations for claims is two years from the date of the individual's death. This means that if you do not file your claim within this timeframe, you may lose your right to seek compensation and justice for your loved one's death.
It's crucial to note that every case is unique and has its own set of circumstances. Therefore, it's best to consult with an experienced attorney who can provide personalized guidance on how to proceed and ensure that all necessary paperwork is filed before the deadline passes.
What Are Common Causes of Wrongful Death Accidents in Chicago and Illinois?
According to the National Safety Council, Illinois had a total of 2,199 deaths from unintentional injuries in 2019. Of those deaths, 23.9% were attributed to falls, 19.2% to poisoning, and 5.6% to motor vehicle crashes. It is important to note that not all unintentional injury deaths are classified as wrongful deaths, which are deaths caused by someone else's negligent or intentional actions. However, the Illinois wrongful death rate has remained relatively consistent over the past few years, with an average of around 1,900 reported cases annually. These cases can stem from a variety of incidents, such as medical malpractice, workplace accidents, or violent crimes. The loss of a loved one is never easy, and seeking legal representation to hold those responsible accountable can bring a sense of closure and justice.
Contact a Wrongful Death Attorney
If you have lost a loved one due to what you believe is a wrongful death, contacting an attorney should be a priority. A skilled attorney can study your case, evaluate its merits, and determine the next steps. These times are often stressful as the survivors continue to grieve and process the death of their loved ones. Dealing with insurance companies can be extremely frustrating and re-traumatizing, especially if dirty tactics such as blaming the victim are used. An attorney can help navigate the process, offer options, and clarify what is happening to get you the closure and compensation you deserve.
The statute of limitations is already counting down and the months will seem to pass like minutes as you come to terms with the loss you have experienced. A skilled attorney knows how to meet deadlines, file paperwork, and approach insurers and private citizens for fair compensation, not only at the negotiation table but also in a court of law if necessary. Contact the experienced attorneys at the Blumenshine Law Group today for a free consultation. Call or text our law firm at (312) 766-1000, or email [email protected].