The settlement amount of any wrongful death case is highly variable and depends on several factors such as the likelihood that the jury will find liability, the complexity of the case, the defendants’ insurance policy limits, and the damages at issue.
The deceased’s age and future earning potential may also be a factor in assessing settlement value. Given the substantial differences between cases, settlement amount can vary for thousands of dollars to several million dollars or more.
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Losing a loved one is an incredibly difficult event to experience. Whether they passed from a fatal car accident or medical malpractice, an experienced wrongful death lawyer will examine the details of your case and help you determine all the damages you might be able to recover for.
Our wrongful death attorneys have vast knowledge and experience with wrongful death lawsuits and will help you throughout the entire process. They will explain all the details you need to know about the process and assist you every step of the way from being able to file a wrongful death claim to making sure your settlement is paid out.
Call The Kryder Law Group, LLC today to set up a free consultation so we can review your wrongful death suit and see how we can help you.
Below you’ll find answers to important questions when dealing with a wrongful death lawsuit and trying to determine what kind of wrongful death settlement you may be entitled to:
Wrongful death cases typically require filing a two count complaint.
The first count in a wrongful death case is called wrongful death and is filed under the Wrongful Death Act (740 ILCS 180/0.01, et al.).
The Wrongful Death Act seeks to recover damages for:
The second count in a wrongful death case seeks to recover damages for survivorship under the Survival Act (755 ILCS 5/27-6).
The Survival Act can seek damages for:
In wrongful death claims a deceased’s spouse may also seeks damages for loss of consortium. Loss of consortium means a spouse or family member losing benefits beyond financial support that would have come from the decedent.
In Illinois, during wrongful death lawsuits a jury hears all of the evidence from both the plaintiffs and the defendants at trial for a wrongful death case. Depending on the number of parties and the complexity of the case, a jury trial can last between a single day to over two weeks.
Once the parties present their evidence, the jury then retires to a private room for deliberations. The jury must first decide whether the defendants are liable. If the jury finds liability, the jury then determines the amount of fault each party is liable for the injuries.
Finally, the jury completes a verdict form that lists the types of damages in a wrongful death case the plaintiff seeks (pain and suffering, lost wages, grief, sorrow, etc.). The jury enters a dollar amount for each itemized damage before signing it and presenting it to the court.
It is impossible to accurately know what a given jury award will be or what party a jury will even rule in favor of. A wrongful death settlement attempts to estimate any award based on potential damages, fault, and likelihood of a favorable verdict.
The wrongful death settlement amount awarded by juries can be highly variable. Since the purpose of the wrongful death claim is to compensate for the emotional loss of a loved one in addition to the financial losses associated with their wrongful death, jurors consider a deceased’s age, income, and relationship to the plaintiffs when determining any verdict award.
For example, a young person’s death may result in a larger verdict since more years of their life were taken from them were they were negligently killed.
The deaths of high income earners that were the breadwinners of their household may also command larger verdicts since their family depended on them financially.
Fatal injuries that required invasive surgeries and large medical bills, including burn injuries, traumatic brain injuries, and paralysis, may result in large verdicts.
If a husband dies and his wife has to hire workers to help take care of the children or maintain the house, a jury may take the family’s loss of companionship and household services into consideration.
A jury will tend to award higher damages if the deceased was conscious and aware of their injuries before succumbing.
Additionally, a defendant’s insurance company will also consider the likelihood that a jury will rule in favor of the plaintiff before agreeing to settle. If there is clear evidence that their defendant is responsible for the death of your loved one, they will be much more likely to agree to a larger settlement.
Each wrongful death case is highly fact-specific and depends on the issues in the case. What county the lawsuit was filed in will even influence the wrongful death settlement value, sometimes drastically.
Some wrongful death cases settle for thousands of dollars, while another wrongful death settlement may award several million dollars.
At The Kryder Law Group, LLC, our wrongful death attorneys have obtained multiple $1million+ wrongful death settlements, including:
$3 million on behalf of family members facing the loss of a loved one hit by a garbage truck.
$7.5 million in a construction site injury case, which was at the time the highest award for an accident of this type in DuPage County.
Although some states limit what can be recovered in a wrongful death settlement, there is no cap on compensatory or punitive damages in Illinois.
A jury is only instructed to award damages based on what they believe is reasonable compensation for the injuries suffered. Although unusual, a wrongful death jury is even free to award more than what a plaintiff might ask for at trial.
Wrongful death settlements are paid out to the close family members of the deceased, such as the spouse and children or, if they were unmarried or did not have children, the parents of the deceased.
If the deceased does not have close family members, it will be paid out to other family members.
The Probate Act (755 ILCS 5/9-1, et al.) lists the following family members in order of priority for a wrongful death recovery:
If your loved one’s death was caused by the negligence of a person or entity, you should contact your attorney right away so that they can perform an investigation to preserve critical evidence and to identify all of the bad actors before the statute of limitations expires.
Doing so will give you the best chance at reaching a favorable resolution and obtaining the wrongful death settlement you deserve for your family’s loss.
Call our law firm today for a free consultation. Our experienced personal injury attorneys will examine your case and determine what kind of wrongful death settlement you could be entitled to. We have dealt with many wrongful death cases and have had many successes.
Let us help you while you allow yourself time to grieve the loss of a loved one. We will fight for you and do our best to get you the wrongful death settlement that you and your family deserve.