Chicago Fatal Car Accident Attorneys
Legal Help After a Car Accident Death
Nothing could be worse than to lose someone you love in a car accident caused by the negligence of another. Sadly, innocent people are killed in car accidents every day of the year. Nearly 33,000 people died in traffic crashes on our nation's roadways in 2014, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) statistics. If you have lost a loved one in a traffic collision, our compassionate Chicago car accident lawyers at Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC want to help. We understand that no amount of money can ever compensate you for the personal loss you have suffered. However, you may be entitled to seek justice for your loved one and hold the negligent party accountable by filing a wrongful death claim.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Illinois?
As covered in the Illinois Wrongful Death Act, the personal representative of the deceased person's estate must bring a wrongful death claim. This is the individual appointed by the deceased to administer his or her estate. If your loved one died without appointing a personal representative, the court can appoint someone.
Any amount recovered in a wrongful death claim must be for the exclusive benefit of the deceased person's surviving spouse and next of kin. If there is no surviving spouse or next of kin, damages recovered in a wrongful death claim go to hospitals and medical providers of the deceased to cover medical expenses of the last injury or illness and to the personal representative for costs and expenses of administering the estate and processing the wrongful death claim.
Elements of an Illinois Wrongful Death Claim
When a person dies because of the negligence or wrongdoing of another, the surviving spouse and next of kin may be entitled to claim compensation for damages on behalf of the deceased family member, as well as damages for their own losses. A valid Illinois wrongful death claim must establish that:
- The defendant had a legal duty to the deceased;
- The defendant breached his or her legal duty to the deceased; and
- The plaintiff sustained pecuniary damages (damages that can be quantified monetarily) because of the defendant's breach of duty to the deceased.
Damages in Illinois Fatal Car Accident Claims
Wrongful death plaintiffs may claim damages for money, goods, benefits, and services the deceased family member contributed in the past, and would likely have contributed in the future. Minor children of the deceased may claim loss of parenting services. The surviving spouse of the deceased may claim loss of consortium, which includes all of the benefits of a marital relationship.
Family members of a deceased person bringing wrongful death claims are not required to prove specific facts to establish the value of their losses. It is assumed that they have suffered losses, unless the defendant can prove otherwise.
If you have lost a loved one due to an act of negligence, Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC is here to help. Our Chicago injury attorneys are compassionate, professional, and dedicated to relentlessly pursuing the best possible results in wrongful death cases. We offer a free case consultation with no obligation. Contact us today to discuss your options under the law.