In the United States, wrongful death cases are one of the leading causes of death. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported 200,955 unintentional deaths in 2020.
After the loss of a loved one, the surviving spouse or family member can file a wrongful death claim against the at-fault party. An experienced wrongful death lawyer in Illinois will be able to assist you in preparing your lawsuit.
However, you must ensure that the lawyer has the experience and successful track record to protect your rights to compensation after your loss. Find out what to look for in a wrongful death attorney to help you with your claim.
How Does Illinois Law Define a Wrongful Death?
The state of Illinois considers a wrongful death to occur from someone else’s negligence or wrongful act. Illinois’ Wrongful Death Act provides financial compensation for family members of the victim who have lost income and suffered emotional distress because of their loved one’s death.
A jury will then determine whether a person, company or corporation is liable for fair and just damages. The court distributes the recovered amount to the victim’s spouse and next of kin. If there is no close family member of the victim, personal representatives and medical personnel who cared for the victim can receive wrongful death damages because of the victim’s death.
Common Types of Wrongful Death Cases
Wrongful deaths can occur for various reasons, including work hazards, medical malpractice, defective equipment, and auto accidents. While a wrongful death lawsuit cannot bring a loved one back, it can help ease some of the burden by ensuring those responsible are held accountable. It also ensures survivors won’t have to struggle financially.
Some of the most common personal injury accidents covered by The Wrongful Death Act include:
Distracted drivers, drunk drivers, and others who disregard traffic signals and posted speed limits contribute to auto accidents in Illinois. The number of fatal traffic accidents increased in 2020, with 1,195 people killed in 1,088 accidents from 1,010 deaths in 938 collisions in 2019.
Illinois has a high rate of speeding-related accidents. In 2020, speed-related accidents accounted for 44.9% of fatal crashes. Any of these situations can lead to negligent drivers being held liable for the deaths of the drivers and passengers.
A trucking employer and cargo loader can face liability for these accidents due to driving with an oversized load and mechanical issues with the truck. Truck drivers can also be negligent when they commit errors such as reckless driving or driving while fatigued.
Medical errors, such as failing to monitor anesthesia, can cause wrongful death during surgery and treatment. As a result, a doctor or the hospital may be liable for monetary damages if you lose a loved one due to a mistake.
Nursing homes must provide adequate staffing levels and follow all necessary procedures to protect their patients. A nursing home and its staff responsible for patient care may be liable for the death of your loved one if they fail to perform their duty.
A wrongful death lawsuit in Illinois has a two-year statute of limitations. To file your case on time, a wrongful death attorney understands what it takes to go through the legal process against the parties responsible for the death of your loved one.
What to Look for in a Wrongful Death Lawyer
A wrongful death attorney should have extensive experience and a successful track record recovering compensation when handling your case. They should also be communicative and compassionate and understand what you and your family are dealing with after such a tragic loss.
When researching a wrongful death lawyer near you, look for these qualities:
Track Record of Success in Securing Compensation
The attorney should have experience dealing with and achieving favorable outcomes for past clients in wrongful death cases. Their website should contain their biography that showcases their practice and results from past clients.
Consistent Online Presence
Having an impressive website and social media presence establishes the law firm’s credibility. Their website should contain information about their services, client testimonials, and informative blog posts that showcase their recent achievements and current legislation that affects their practice.
Ensure that the attorney is in good standing with Illinois’ State Bar Association (ISBA) with no records of disciplinary action against them. Having your lawyer cross the line into unethical behavior, such as being unresponsive and knowing that they have a conflict of interest, can negatively impact the result of your case.
The right attorney will listen to you, answer any questions you may have, and guide you through the legal process until they resolve your case. Our attorneys at Nessler & Associates are committed to aggressively fighting for your rights and helping you receive compensation.
How to Find the Right Wrongful Death Lawyer
Choosing the right wrongful death lawyer requires reaching out to your network and meeting with several attorneys before you choose the best one for your case. Here are some tips to help you get started:
Ask Friends and Family for a Referral
Ask friends and family members if they have recommendations for a wrongful death lawyer. When communicating with the lawyer, they can discuss the legal process and personal experiences. If a family member had a wrongful death case and was satisfied with the outcome, find out if they can refer you to the attorney who represented them.
Check Out Online Reviews
Look up reviews online from other people who have used the lawyer’s services for their cases. Reading reviews from clients allows you to gain an understanding of both the positives and the negatives of the experience.
The testimonials can help you get a sense of the attorney’s performance and whether they are likely to help with your case.
Schedule a Consultation with a Lawyer
You can schedule consultations with potential attorneys to interview them for their experience and skills in your case before making a decision. The questions you can ask during your consultation can cover these areas:
- Annual wrongful death caseload
- Years of personal injury and wrongful death practice
- Number of settlements and trials
- Frequency of handling cases similar to yours
- Years of business in the local community and region
- Active membership in bar associations and professional organizations
- Fee structure for your settlement and whether the lawyer takes a certain percentage
Look for Specialized Knowledge for Your Case
You may ask the lawyer about their experience in your specific wrongful death case. If your case involves medical malpractice, you should find a lawyer with knowledge and experience working on medical malpractice cases.
They understand the legal process for medical malpractice consists in reviewing all medical documentation and negotiating with the negligent doctor’s and hospital’s insurance companies. If they have previously handled similar cases, ask them if they have references you can speak to before making your final decision.
Contact a Local Illinois Wrongful Death Attorney
A lawyer for a wrongful death lawsuit must be credible, experienced, specialized, and transparent with clients. When you lose a loved one due to a wrongful act, the Chicago wrongful death lawyers at Nessler & Associates can discuss the circumstances of your loved one’s death, determine liability, and help you recover compensation.
Our lawyers have helped injured people obtain fair compensation for over 40 years, representing the families of wrongful death victims
Each state has its own unique laws that dictate who can recover damages and how long you have to file the claim. This makes it critical to seek the counsel of an experienced wrongful death attorney when you believe or realize your loved one was killed due to someone else’s negligence.
Our law firm works on a contingency fee arrangement, meaning you don’t have to pay until we win your case. Get in touch with us at (800) 727-8010 for a free consultation to learn more about our legal services and how we can assist you with your wrongful death case.