Wrongful Death Lawyer in Chicago, IL
No matter how hard we try to avoid it, life brings surprises. Unfortunately, they’re not always pleasant, such as with severe accidents on roadways, at work, at home, or in other places. Sometimes these accidents lead to the worst possible outcome — someone’s death.
If you’re a survivor of someone who’s died in an accident, you may have the right to compensation via a wrongful death lawsuit. In Illinois and other states, wrongful death statutes cover circumstances where someone acts recklessly or negligently and causes the death of another. The law seeks to hold those people accountable for their actions through civil litigation.
Our experienced team of wrongful death lawyers at Alvarez Law Office in Chicago can explain the law and evidence, help you understand your rights, and assess your case. Here are the most important things you need to know about wrongful death lawsuits in Illinois.
What’s a Wrongful Death Claim?
The Illinois Wrongful Death Act applies when someone dies from “a wrongful act, neglect, or default” committed by an individual or an organization, such as a company. The wrongful death law is an extension of the state’s personal injury law that allows survivors to receive compensation for their loved one’s injuries, pain, or suffering. Wrongful death lawsuits can apply after overt acts, such as someone driving a car recklessly, or through a failure to act, such as by missing a step in a medical procedure.
What Damages Can You Recover in a Wrongful Death Claim?
Wrongful death lawsuits allow the personal representative of someone who’s died to seek compensation for specific damages, many of which relate to the wrongful act or omission. These include a mixture of direct expenses and non-monetary losses.
For example, a plaintiff in a wrongful death case can seek damages for the cost of care for their loved one, including time spent in the hospital and other medical treatment before the person’s death. The suit can also include claims for burial and funeral expenses. Depending on the case’s specific facts, plaintiffs may also be able to sue for more subjective types of losses, such as the suffering of their loved one, grief and loss from their passing, and the loss of future companionship and earning capacity.
Under Illinois law, wrongful death cases must be filed by the deceased person’s personal representative, also known as the estate executor. The personal representative may or may not be a family member. However, even though the personal representative initiates the case, any compensation recovered goes to the surviving spouse or next of kin.
Wrongful Death Incidents
Wrongful death cases aren’t limited to specific types of incidents. They commonly evolve from serious car accidents, especially involving drunk driving or other reckless acts on the highway. Other types of accidents resulting in wrongful death cases include the following:
- Medical malpractice: When a doctor fails to administer proper treatment or performs with gross negligence.
- Workplace accidents: Incidents involving heavy equipment either in factories or construction.
- Aviation accidents: This includes plane crashes of all sizes.
- Defective products: When death is caused by poorly made products.
- Criminal acts such as rape or assault: Where a person who commits a crime can also face monetary damages.
The personal injury attorneys at Alvarez Law Office in Chicago can help evaluate your case to see if it fits under the Illinois Wrongful Death statute.
How Long Does a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Take?
Many personal representatives and next of kin are anxious to know how long a wrongful death case takes. The unsatisfying answer is that it depends on the facts of each case. In general, you shouldn’t expect a fast resolution. Wrongful death cases often require a complex and lengthy process that includes exchanges of documents and depositions as each side gathers evidence to evaluate the strength of their position. Often these cases involve insurance companies that may seek to exclude certain information from consideration.
On average, wrongful death cases take anywhere from one to four years. However, there may be exceptions. Insurance companies are sometimes anxious to settle to avoid the cost of litigation and may offer a settlement quickly. Refrain from dealing with insurance companies yourself, however. Use the services of an experienced wrongful death attorney who can negotiate on your behalf to get what you deserve.
When you work with the professionals at Alvarez Law Office, we’ll do what it takes to obtain fair compensation. Our team has over 200 years of combined experience, and we have a proven track record of recovering damages for the loved ones of people who’ve died unnecessarily. No matter how long it takes, Alvarez Law Office in Chicago will stand by your side.
Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations
Like other states, Illinois has a statute of limitations law that puts a time limit on filing a wrongful death lawsuit. The personal representative must file the wrongful death case within two years, or a court may decide to dismiss the case or decline to hear arguments.
While two years may seem like a long time, gathering evidence and evaluating the law can be labor intensive. As painful as it may be at the time, you should consult with a wrongful death attorney to make sure you meet all appropriate deadlines. The Alvarez Law Office attorneys can help ensure your case moves forward promptly.
Do You Have To Pay Taxes on a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
The IRS deems all settlements awarded for suits related to physical injury or illness as non-taxable and considered compensatory rather than a “gain.” This law includes damages recovered in a wrongful death lawsuit because they stem from a third party being found responsible for the injury or illness that caused the death of the individual.
Now that you have a better understanding of wrongful death lawsuits and who can file, what to expect in the process, and what damages may be awarded, you may be ready to proceed with a lawsuit. Contact Alvarez Law Office in Chicago for legal counsel in your wrongful death case. In addition to Chicago, our attorneys also provide experienced counsel in Gary, Goshen, and northern Indiana.