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How Do You Prove a Wrongful Death Claim in Illinois?
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How Do You Prove a Wrongful Death Claim in Illinois?

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A wrongful death lawsuit lets you recover damages for the losses you suffered when a loved one dies due to someone else’s negligence. It allows you to hold the person responsible for a loved one’s death, provided you can prove their actions were negligent. 

If you need legal guidance to prove a wrongful death in Illinois, a personal injury lawyer experienced in wrongful death cases can collect evidence to prove the other party was at fault for the death. They can use evidence to develop a strong case for the wrongful death and your family members’ pain and suffering. 

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

According to Illinois law, you must file a wrongful death lawsuit within two years of the date of the victim’s death. However, only certain personal representatives can bring a lawsuit and receive damages in connection with the pecuniary injuries and death of a relative:

  • The surviving spouse
  • A person’s next of kin, including their parents if they don’t have a spouse
  • Personal representatives of the estate

Elements in a Wrongful Death Case

Bringing a valid wrongful death claim requires proving the four elements with the help of a wrongful death lawyer. These four elements are:

 Duty of Care

The surviving family members must establish that the defendant owed a duty of care to the wrongfully killed person. There are different kinds of duties of care depending on the situation. 

For instance, drivers must drive safely around everyone on the road. Likewise, medical professionals must provide their patients with the services they need within their fields’ acceptable standards of care.

 Breach of Duty

You must show that the other party somehow breached their duty to the deceased person. For example, an aggressive driver on a roadway may have run a stop sign and caused a car accident, breaching their duty of care. 

 Causation

You must demonstrate that the at-fault party’s actions caused the death. In the case of medical malpractice, a doctor’s neglectful actions, such as a misdiagnosis of an illness, led to a patient’s untimely injuries and death. 

 Damages

A wrongful death claim has to show you suffered damages from the death of your loved one. There are two damages you may collect as compensation: 

  • Economic damages include medical expenses from the time of the loved one’s accident to their death. They also cover funeral and burial costs and financial support loss. 
  • Noneconomic damages comprise survivors’ grief, sorrow, and mental suffering. Compensation includes the loss of consortium and emotional distress. 

Workers’ compensation death benefits are available to you and your family members in the event of the death of a loved one in a workplace accident. A lawyer can help you submit a workers’ compensation claim with the Workers Compensation Commission. 

How to Prove Wrongful Death in Illinois with Evidence

The success of your wrongful death claim depends on providing evidence of the damages you suffered from your loved one’s death. According to the circumstances of the accident and injury, these pieces of evidence may include any or all of the following:

Company Safety Records

Your lawyer can check the company’s training and safety records if your loved one died in a workplace accident. A review of the documents can help prove that the company failed to follow proper training and safety procedures, which led to the accident. 

It establishes negligence by showing that the employer did not adequately train employees and maintain equipment. They also demonstrate the duty of care between the employer and your loved one.

Photos and Video Footage of the Cause of Death

Photos and videos should clearly show what occurred and how it happened that may have contributed to their death. For example, videos and pictures can show the location of the accident and how the negligent driver’s actions contributed to the death by making an illegal turn into the opposite lane.

A lawyer can obtain surveillance footage from nearby businesses and coordinate with government agencies for traffic camera footage. 

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Police Report

You can work with your lawyer to obtain the police report of the accident. The police report contains details of the accident, including the type of accident, a detailed diagram, and who is at fault. It may also have the witnesses’ contact information. This evidence can show your lawyer how the accident happened and what led to your loved one’s death.

Eyewitness Statements

Witnesses can help prove wrongful death by describing what they saw and heard that led to a person’s death. They may also testify about how your loved one died, such as the types of injuries suffered before dying.

Tax Returns and Financial Records

You will need to provide your attorney with tax returns and pay stubs to determine the value of your wrongful death claim. Financial records from your family can determine the value of your loss of wages and other economic damages.

Medical Records

A lawyer must demonstrate that the injuries that your loved one suffered are directly related to the negligence of the negligent party with detailed medical records. The information can show what kind of injuries your loved one sustained during the accident. 

Autopsy Report

An autopsy report can indicate if a medical error caused the death if you have a medical malpractice case. It contains valuable information, such as: 

  • Factors that contributed to the death
  • Description of the care before the death
  • Photos of the body
  • Detailed body examination 
  • Tissue sample descriptions under the microscope

Get Help From Nessler & Associates for Your Wrongful Death Claim

If you have a wrongful death claim, we want to help. Although winning a lawsuit won’t bring your loved one back, it will provide the compensation your family needs to move on and heal. 

During your free consultation, we can discuss your claim within the scope of the attorney-client relationship and advise you on how we will negotiate with the responsible party’s insurance company on your behalf.  

Our law firm has decades of experience representing the families of wrongful death victims in Illinois, Colorado, Florida, and Texas, including a minor who fell into a mobile home park’s sewage treatment lagoon. The insurance company offered $50,000, but with our help was awarded $1.1 million

Rest assured that we won’t back down when insurance companies push back because we know how to build a solid case and what our clients are entitled to in compensation.  Our law firm works on contingency because we believe every client deserves the best legal representation possible. This means you don’t pay any fees if we don’t win your case.  

Call us at (800) 727-8010 to schedule a complimentary initial consultation with one of our experienced wrongful death attorneys to discuss your circumstances and learn how we can help you get the settlement you deserve.  

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