Who Determines Wrongful Death?

wrongful death lawyers in WaukeeganLosing someone you love with your whole being can be the most painful experience of your life. If they lost their life because of someone’s negligence, the pain only multiplies. In such cases, you can ask a Waukegan wrongful death attorney to help you determine wrongful death in court and get some closure. If the deceased was the main breadwinner of your family, the damages can support you financially as well.


However, in the wrong hands, a wrongful death lawsuit can end up being more costly for you than the one who was responsible for the death. For example, an inexperienced Waukegan wrongful death attorney may not be able to help you recover the benefits that you may have received if the deceased had lived.


Who Is Eligible To Recover Compensation For Wrongful Death?

According to the Illinois Wrongful Death Act, only the deceased’s spouse and children can recover damages in a wrongful death claim. It is different from the Survival Act compensation which allows the deceased’s estate to recover said damages that he/she may have recovered if they lived or survived.


The court that hears the lawsuit has the authority to determine how the money is divided between the children and the spouse as per their level of dependency on the deceased. In other words, the court evaluates how much each member of the family depended on the deceased financially.


For instance, if a single mother passed away and she was responsible for an adult child’s education, he/she may get more money compared to their older siblings who are employed and are not financially dependent.

While this may seem unfair, wrongful death lawyers in Waukegan may say otherwise. It just makes sense, but your lawyer will be able to help you understand it much better.


Wrongful Death vs. Murder

While it may not seem so, wrongful death is not the same as murder. The latter is a criminal charge that is brought upon a defendant (by a prosecutor) who committed a crime that lead to the death. Wrongful death claims on the other hand are filed in civil court by the family members of the deceased. Plus, you can file a wrongful death claim, whether or not criminal charges were filed against the defendant.


One of the most famous examples of this is the trial of OJ Simpson in the 1990s. While the famed football star was tried and charged for the murder of his wife and her male friend, he was found not guilty for their deaths from a criminal point of view. However, he was liable for their wrongful deaths. While he has yet to pay a cent to the families of the victims, the amount has more than doubled and the charge is not going anywhere.
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If you lost a loved one because of someone else’s negligence, you and your family should file a wrongful death lawsuit against them without hesitation. For experienced wrongful death lawyers in Waukegan get in touch with the Law Offices of Robert T. Edens today. We have over 20 years of experience helping families find closure with successful lawsuits against guilty defendants.

Difference Between Wrongful Death and Accidental Death

Wrongful Death AttorneyWhen an individual loses their life in an accident, it is critical the surviving family members obtain an understanding of their legal rights. If they were financially dependent on the decedent, it is crucial for loved ones to know their rights and initiate legal action by hiring a personal injury lawyer. However, not every accident warrants legal action and it is extremely important to learn the difference between wrongful death and accidental death.

Difference Between Wrongful Death and Accidental Death

In an event where death is classified as an accidental event, no party is held responsible and consequently, there is no valid legal claim to pursue. However, if the same accident occurred due to the negligence of another, then it is considered a wrongful death. It is the deliberate harm or negligence that sets wrongful deaths apart from incidents that are truly accidental.

For instance, if a child is a victim of an auto accident by suddenly running in front of the vehicle, it will be considered an accidental death, provided the driver was driving their vehicle safely and taking all necessary precautions of road safety, such as paying attention to the road, not driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs and driving under speed limit, among others.  As unfortunate as this event might be, the driver may not have sufficient distance to apply brakes and avoid the incident.

On the other hand, if a driver is not following traffic laws and driving irresponsibly, for example, texting while driving, DUI, or driving recklessly, loses control of their vehicle, swerves off the road and strikes a child who is playing in their yard, then it will constituted a case of wrongful death. In such an instance, the driver will be deemed completely responsible for the death of the child. This example is not only applicable for cases involving children. Any individual who is not at fault and suffers from an accident, due to the negligence of someone else, which leads to their demise, is considered a victim of wrongful death.

Should You Hire A Lawyer?

If you suffered a loss of your loved one and are seeking justice, it can be highly beneficial to procure services of an experienced personal injury lawyer. Your attorney will investigate the facts of the case, look into circumstances and help you to understand whether you have a valid claim to pursue.

If the accident was caused due to the negligence or misconduct, your personal injury lawyer will set the wheels of justice in motion by devising a strong case in your favor, allowing you to seek rightful damages for your loss and sufferings. Though the monetary compensation will not bring your loved ones to alleviate your pain, it can help you to navigate through the tough period.

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If you wish to find out more about the difference between wrongful death and accidental death or schedule a free consultation, contact the offices of Robert Edens at (847) 395-2200 to speak with an experienced auto accident lawyer.

Mistakes to Avoid in a Wrongful Death Case

The immense grief and devastating feeling becomes quite difficult to handle when a loved one dies because of someone’s negligent actions. If the loved one was the breadwinner, you may be worried how you will make the ends meet without that person, and would probably want to get justice, and more importantly, compensation for all that you have lost. In such situations, family members can file a wrongful death case against the responsible party, and recover for mental anguish, lost wages, funeral expenses, medical costs, lost benefits, and several other things.

While it may seem uncomplicated to file a lawsuit in court and get compensation, many cases are lost because of small errors that could have altered the outcome, given they were avoided. The following are some common mistakes people make in wrongful death cases:

Representing your Case on your Own

You may have done thorough research on the subject and think that you can handle your wrongful death case on your own, but the court system and wrongful death cases are extremely complex for a normal person to understand. You may find yourself struggling with understanding legal terminology, finding relevant evidence, keeping up with the deadlines, and coping with court requirements. This is likely to happen because you cannot learn everything within a few weeks through online guides. Instead of jeopardizing your case, it is better to hire an experienced wrongful death attorney to increase your chances of receiving a favorable outcome dramatically.

Waiting Too Long

It is difficult for a person to think about going to court and starting a case right after the death of their loved one. However, it is important to take prompt action, as according to the Wrongful Death Act, 740 ILCS 180/2, the statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death case in Illinois is two years. This means when two years have passed from the day your loved one died, you cannot file a case against the responsible party. It can take some time to find a good wrongful death attorney, gather evidence, and arrange all the required documentation. That is why it is advisable to take action as soon as possible.

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Readily Accepting any Compensation Offered to You

Apart from making you believe that they have got you covered in your worst times, insurance companies try to trick you into accepting a lower settlement amount by making it seem generous and the best available offer. They take advantage of your situation and try to convince that matters can be settled peacefully and you don’t need to go to court. However, never accept such a settlement without consulting with your attorney. This is because your attorney will look for what’s best for you and might be able to negotiate a higher amount of compensation.

The period after the death of a loved one is always difficult, but one must not give away the opportunity to hold the person responsible for their negligent actions by making these mistakes. It is best to work with an experienced wrongful death attorney and improve your chances of getting maximum compensation. Contact the Law Offices of Robert T. Edens, P.C. at (847) 395-2200 or online today to schedule your initial consultation.

Wrongful Deaths: What are the Common Causes?

No life event is more tragic and devastating than losing a loved one, especially when the death is unexpected and a result of unnatural causes. A wrongful death refers to the death of an individual caused by the negligence, carelessness, wrongful act, or lack of skill of a person, agent, or corporation. Although this is a broad definition, it is applicable in a wide range of situations.

When a person dies under any of these circumstances, the surviving family has the legal right to file a wrongful death claim or lawsuit against the defendant. Although it won’t bring their deceased loved one back, it enables them to recover different damages and expenses, including healthcare costs, lost income, pain and suffering, loss of inheritance, and burial expenses. In order to receive compensation, the plaintiff and their legal representative must be able to prove the negligent actions of the defendant caused the death.

The Common Causes of Wrongful Death

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the fourth leading cause of death is unintentional injury, resulting in more than 130,000 deaths annually across the country. Most wrongful death cases involve one of the following types of accidents.

Vehicle Accidents

A staggering number of wrongful death cases involve fatalities from traffic accidents. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 40,000 people die in vehicle accidents every year in the United States. The lawsuits and claims filed by the deceased’s family members in such cases are against commercial truck drivers, motorists, automobile manufacturers, and roadway government agencies.

Commercial Truck Accidents

When a typical commercial truck is involved in a road accident, the outcomes are quite serious, which mostly results in a fatality. Most of the time, the trucker or the trucking company is at fault. They can be held liable for the wrongful death due to their failure to maintain proper driving hours, follow mandatory regulations, drive within weight limits, drunk driving, or over-speeding.

Workplace Accidents

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), about 4,400 workers die on the job each year in the United States. Leading the list of the most dangerous occupations is the construction industry, as most deaths take place on-site due to unsafe working conditions. Since the company is responsible for providing a safe working environment, adequate equipment, and proper safety training, the surviving family members can file a claim or lawsuit against the employer.

Medical Malpractice

Doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals have a duty of care towards their patients to provide a certain level of healthcare and ensure their well being. Unfortunately, some medical practitioners fail to provide the standard care, and their negligent actions lead to the death of the patient.

Common types of medical malpractice include anesthesia errors, surgical errors, defective medical equipment, misdiagnosis, birth injuries, and prescription errors. Based on the evidence, the deceased’s family may file a wrongful death claim or lawsuit against the doctor or the hospital for medical malpractice.

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Regardless of the cause of wrongful death, it is essential that you hire an experienced and reliable wrongful death attorney for aggressive legal representation. Contact the Law Offices of Robert T. Edens, P.C. at (847) 395-2200 or online today to schedule your initial consultation.