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Chicago Wrongful Death Attorney

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Losing a loved one is not just emotionally devastating. It often brings severe financial loss to every family member concerning their future well-being, job opportunities and quality of life. If your family member was taken too soon because of someone else’s negligence, you may be able to pursue compensation for your loss through a wrongful death claim.

At Smith LaCien LLP in Chicago, our attorneys understand how to get results in these complex and emotional cases. We have recovered more than $2.5 billion for victims of negligence in Illinois. We take pride in providing supportive, caring and dedicated representation during this difficult time.

Compensation for Wrongful Death Can Ease the Burden

While no amount of money can bring your family member back, compensation can help with certain areas of your life. There may be remaining medical bills to pay. Funeral expenses are not cheap. Perhaps the person who died was supporting you or other family members financially, and you are now stuck figuring out how you’ll maintain your lifestyle. This is where our personal injury lawyers can help. We will fight tirelessly for the damages your family is owed.

As your legal representative, we will do our best to deliver the desired outcome. These cases can be difficult, not just emotionally but legally, which is why experience matters. We are well-versed in the Illinois Wrongful Death Act (740 ILCS 180), which requires us to prove that the death of your loved one was caused by another person’s negligence. Additionally, we must be able to show the damages that were suffered due to the loss, such as any medical bills incurred prior to death, funeral expenses and lost wages, as well as non-economic damages. Wrongful death claims can be brought by the surviving spouse or next of kin, with some exceptions depending on the situation.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

If a person dies as a result of a wrongful or negligent act which gave rise to a personal injury lawsuit, their personal representatives would be entitled to file a wrongful death lawsuit on their behalf. In some cases, death may not be the immediate result of the wrongful or negligent act. However, if the victim dies before any personal injury case is instituted or resolved, their personal representatives will be entitled to file a wrongful death lawsuit.

Who Benefits from the Damages Recovered?

Damages recovered are distributed by the court in which the lawsuit is tried or by the circuit court, if damages are recovered through a settlement. The sum recovered is divided among the victim’s surviving spouse and next of kin, according to the level of their individual dependence on the victim.

The victim’s next of kin is defined by the Illinois Probate Act of 1975. Next of kin includes children, parents, siblings, grandparents, nieces, nephews, and other close blood relatives.

If the victim died with no surviving spouse or next of kin, the damages would be distributed among one or more of the following persons:

  • Any person responsible for any hospital bills associated with the victim’s last illness or injury;
  • Any person who provided medical assistance associated with the victim’s last illness or injury;
  • The victim’s personal representative, to cover the costs and expenses associated with administering the victim’s estate or pursuing the legal action for wrongful death, including legal fees.

Non-family members may also be entitled to a share of the damages recovered if they are named beneficiaries of the victim’s estate.

When to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Generally, a wrongful death lawsuit must be filed within two years after the death of the victim. However, if the victim died as a result of a violent intentional act such as an assault, the lawsuit must be filed within five years, or within one year after the final outcome of the criminal case if the defendant was charged with murder or manslaughter.

These time limits, also known as the statute of limitations, are part of our legal system to ensure that every person accused of wrongdoing gets a fair chance to put up a defense. The ability to gather evidence is eroded by time. As time passes, records are lost, memories fade or witnesses may relocate and become unavailable to assist in the case. These situations can be just as detrimental to the victim’s case as they are to the defendant. To allow your lawyer enough time to put together a compelling case, you must act quickly. If your loved one died as a result of another person’s wrongful conduct, Smith LaCien LLP can help you get the compensation to which you are entitled.

Types of Accidents that Lead to Wrongful Death Claims

Motor vehicle accidents are one of the most common causes of wrongful death cases. Our attorneys have handled many fatal car accident cases, as well as fatal truck, motorcycle, bicycle and pedestrian claims. Negligent drivers who were texting, drunk, speeding or engaging in any other careless behavior should be held accountable when they take someone’s life.

Our law firm also handles wrongful death claims involving falls. These include slip-and-fall accidents, which in some cases may result in a fatality. It also includes falls from heights such as those at construction sites. Other causes of wrongful death claims include medical malpractice, product defects, airplane accidents and train accidents. Regardless of who or what type of accident caused the loss of your family member’s life, if there was negligence involved, you may have a legal course of action to recover compensation for the loss.

Call for a Free Consultation with a Trusted Lawyer

Our experienced, dedicated attorneys promptly and thoroughly investigate our cases to preserve evidence, determine fault and assess liability on behalf of injured individuals and the families of those killed in trucking crashes. Smith LaCien’s lengthy history of representing victims of personal injury, medical malpractice and wrongful deaths has resulted in more than $2.5 billion in verdicts and settlements and over 100 cases of results of at least $1 million.

It is best to address wrongful death cases as soon as possible. We understand that it can be difficult to focus on a legal case at this time in your life. Let us take the legal burden off your shoulders as you mourn the loss of your loved one. We offer free, no-obligation consultations to accident victims and families of those who have died due to an accident or medical malpractice. We handle cases on a contingency basis, which means you don’t pay us anything unless we obtain results. To learn more about how we can help, call us at (312) 509-8900 or contact us using our online form.

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