Can Family Sue for Wrongful Death?

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If your loved one passed away, and you believe that the negligence or harmful actions of someone else were to blame, you may want to pursue a wrongful death case. A family can sue for wrongful death damages in a number of situations. They can seek compensation for the losses caused by the decedent’s passing. 

However, there are rules about who exactly can pursue a case and other things that you need to know before suing for wrongful death damages. 

Who Can Pursue a Wrongful Death Case?

Usually, the family member who pursues wrongful death damages has to be considered “next of kin.” This is the family member who is close to the deceased and will be, arguably, the one who is the most affected emotionally and financially by their death. 

Common plaintiffs in a wrongful death suit are: 

  • Surviving spouses
  • Parents of the deceased
  • Adult children of the deceased 

Keep in mind that parents can sue for wrongful death even if their deceased child is an adult in some cases. At the same time, adult children can often sue for the wrongful death of a parent even if they are no longer dependent on them. 

The Statute of Limitations

While family members can sue for wrongful death damages, there is a time limit to be aware of. 740 ILCS 180/2 gives families just two years to begin pursuing a wrongful death case. 

That means that acting quickly and getting the legal process started is beneficial. We can ensure that your case is on track. 

How Compensation is Determined

Compensation is generally calculated in a wrongful death case by trying to understand the “pecuniary loss” to the next of kin after the untimely death of their family member. 

This loss is defined as not just a monetary one. Pecuniary loss also refers to the loss of benefits, services, and support that come with the loss of a close loved one. 

To calculate the total pecuniary loss experienced by the next of kin, the following factors are often considered: 

  • What money and goods the deceased contributed in the past
  • Their likely future contribution
  • The age and occupation of the deceased
  • The intangible losses to the family
  • The relationship of the next of kin to the deceased

So, both the financial and emotional toll a wrongful death can take on a family is considered when damages are determined. As such, even the parents of a child who did not have an economic contribution to the household can still sue for wrongful death based on their intangible losses.

What Else to Know About Wrongful Death Damages

There are also some other things that are important to know about wrongful death damages. If you pursue a wrongful death case, keep in mind that punitive damages are not awarded in cases like these. 

If a criminal case with the defendant is also pending, the defendant would face any punitive charges within that court case. 

Hiring a Lawyer

While you are not required to hire a lawyer to pursue a wrongful death case, an experienced Chicago wrongful death attorney can help you navigate this process. That way, someone else can take care of the legal matters for you. 

We can:

  • File your case promptly: As mentioned earlier, there is a statute of limitations to think about. We will quickly file your case so that your family does not miss the chance to pursue wrongful death damages. 
  • Calculate fair compensation: We will calculate fair compensation and show exactly how the loss of your family member has led to economic hardship, mental anguish, or both. 
  • Gather evidence: We will collect the evidence needed to make your wrongful death case. We will show which parties are liable and hold them responsible for their negligence or harmful actions. 
  • Handle all communications: We will talk to all other involved parties for you. There is no need for you and your family to have to deal with the stress of talking to insurers, other lawyers, or anyone else. 
  • Make your case in court, if need be: We will do our best to secure a settlement for your family. If one cannot be reached, we will represent you and fight for the best legal outcome in court. 

Call for Your Free Consultation

A family can sue for wrongful death. If your loved one has passed away, and the negligent or harmful actions of another person or party were to blame, you may be able to pursue a wrongful death case. 

The Kryder Law Group, LLC is ready to help you. Call our office at (312) 598-0982 and get your free consultation today. There is no obligation, just the chance to learn more about your legal options and how you can make things right for your family.

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