Wrongful Death in Workers’ Compensation? Not Exactly

wrongful death

The Illinois workers’ compensation system, much like systems across the country, was designed to provide injured workers with a mechanism for recovery from injury that was less costly and faster than litigation. Before the system was created, injured employees whose employers did not take responsibility for their injuries had to take the employer to court and prove that it was liable before they were able to obtain benefits.

Such a system was heavily in the employer’s favor as most employees could not afford to fight their employer in court and receive care for their injuries at the same time. After the creation of the workers’ compensation system, employees who were injured while performing the duties of their position were able to obtain immediate care at the expense of their employer. One area into which this system extends is with regard to death benefits.

“Death Benefits,” or more aptly, Survivors’ Benefits

Unlike lawsuits under wrongful death statutes, families of workers who are killed while on the job must seek any recovery for their loss under Illinois’ workers’ compensation statutes. This is because the family of the worker essentially steps into the place of their loved one and accepts benefits in his or her stead. Not all family members are entitled to survivors’ benefits, however, as the statute specifies exactly who may recover for the loss.

According to Illinois law, full benefits are payable to the spouse and/or children of the deceased worker. These benefits continue indefinitely until the spouse remarries, or the children reach a certain age (with an exception for dependents who are physically or mentally disabled). If the worker has no spouse or children, the survivors’ benefits can be payable to any dependent parents, grandparents, or other heirs who were “at least 50% dependent” on the employee at the time of his or her death.

As stated previously, the workers’ compensation system is designed to ensure that workers receive prompt and effective care for injuries, without regard to who was at fault for the incident causing the injury. This system protects employers as much as employees and was designed to provide as much of a “win-win” situation as possible whenever a traumatic event occurs in the workplace. Employers benefit from less time they must operate without the injured employee because faster treatment often leads to less time the employee is out of work.

Further, both parties are encouraged to continue to move forward after an incident rather than become embroiled in protracted litigation to prove who or what was at fault for the accident. This system can provide closure in the event of an employee’s death for the employer as well as the survivors by allowing for a mechanism through which the circumstances surrounding a loved one’s death is neither ignored nor drawn out unnecessarily.

Need a guide?

Even though the workers’ compensation system was designed to allow for fairly swift recovery in the event a loved one is injured or killed in the workplace, there are rules that must be followed in order for a survivor to recover the benefits to which they are entitled. If you or a loved one has been injured in the workplace and you have questions about recovering against an employer, call the Law Offices of Robert T. Edens, P.C. in Antioch today at (847) 395-2200. Our attorneys have years of experience fighting to protect workers and ensure that they receive what they are owed quickly, despite an employer’s recalcitrance.

What Is Required To Make a Wrongful Death Claim?

Wrongful Death ClaimIf you have lost a loved one because of someone’s negligence, you can and should hire Cook Country wrongful death lawyers and sue the guilty party. To make a successful claim, you need to prove the following elements:

Duty of Care

You need to prove that the negligent party had a duty of care, or was in a position to act responsibly regarding the deceased. For example, doctors must ensure that the patients under their care are well taken care of. Similarly, a driver is responsible for ensuring that other drivers and pedestrians are safe from them on the road.

Breach of Care or Duty

If your Cook County wrongful death lawyers determined that the defendant had a duty of care to the deceased, they have to prove that they violated that duty. In the case of a negligent doctor, it can be a misdiagnosis or incorrect surgery that leads to death. For a driver, it could be texting while driving, which leads to a fatal accident.


You need to prove that the breach of duty mentioned above was the main reason behind the deceased’s death. In other words, your Cook County wrongful death lawyers will have to prove that the malpractice caused the death or that the fatal accident caused by the distracted driver led to the fatality.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Since the deceased cannot file a lawsuit, their family or heirs can. This can be their children, spouse, or even a court-appointed individual from the family. However, distant relatives may also have this right if the deceased doesn’t have any surviving family members. Your relationship with them is critical when it comes to determining the compensation you may receive.

In some cases, the case may not be based on negligence. If your loved one died because of a faulty product, the wrongful death claim would focus on its effect on you, along with the emotional/financial issues you faced because of it.

Keep in mind that certain agencies or individuals cannot be sued for wrongful death. This includes government agencies and employees. If you still think you have a valid claim against them, get in touch with Robert Edens for a meeting as soon as possible.

Contact the Law Offices of Robert T. Edens for A FREE Consultation

If you lost a dear friend or a family member because of someone’s negligence, get in touch with our wrongful death lawyers in Antioch at the Law Offices of Robert T. Edens today. We have been fighting for the rights of people like you for several decades – we are known for representing our clients aggressively if it means they get the compensation they deserve.

From the accident right up to the tragic event, you will be harassed by the insurance company. They will try to reduce the value of your claim so they don’t have to pay as much. Please do NOT talk to them till you have your consultation with us. Get in touch with us for a meeting, and we will explain why you should never do that and the options you have at your disposal.

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.
Personal Injury Attorney
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.

How Is A Wrongful Death Settlement Paid Out?

Wrongful DeathIf your loved one has died due to the negligence or recklessness of someone else’s behavior, you can file a wrongful death lawsuit. This lawsuit determines the compensatory money and damages that you should receive due to the wrongful death of your loved one. While money certainly will not help ease your pain, it can reduce your monetary burden and ensure that you remain financially stable.

The Basics of a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

A wrongful death lawsuit is a form of personal injury lawsuit that can be filed against a person or organization whose negligent or reckless behavior led to the death of another individual.

For instance, if a drunk driver caused a collision that killed your family member, you can file a wrongful death lawsuit against the drunk driver. Similarly, if a work-related accident, such as an explosion, led to the premature death of your loved one, you can file a wrongful death lawsuit against your deceased family member’s employers.

According to Illinois Wrongful Death Act, the deceased person’s family members can file a lawsuit against those responsible for causing the death.

How Is A Wrongful Death Settlement Paid Out?

Under Illinois’s Wrongful Death Act, the deceased person’s spouse and children may be entitled to receive damages in a wrongful death claim.

Even though the deceased’s family members are responsible for filing the wrongful death lawsuit, they don’t directly receive the wrongful death damages. Instead, the court hearing the lawsuit has the power to decide how the money will be allocated to the spouse and children. The law particularly says:

“The amount recovered in any such action shall be distributed … in the proportion, as determined by the court, that the percentage of dependency of each such person upon the deceased person bears to the sum of the percentages of dependency of all such persons upon the deceased person.”

In simple words, the court determines the financial dependence of each family member on the deceased and then proportionately allocates the money. For instance, if a father was bearing his child’s educational expenses, that child might receive a larger share of damages than a child who wasn’t financially dependent on the father.

Personal Injury Attorney

The untimely death of a loved one is one of the most devastating experiences anyone can go through. During this difficult time, having an experienced attorney who is skilled at wrongful death lawsuits is a good idea. Get in touch with us at the Law Offices of Robert T. Edens for a consultation today. We can represent you in court and ensure you receive the appropriate amount of damaged. We aim to lower your monetary burden and ensure that you stay financially stable.