Wrongful Death Lawyers

If you have lost someone you care about in an accident or due to the reckless or irresponsible actions and behaviors of somebody else, Illinois tort law affords deceased person’s family to pursue the responsible party for financial compensation.  Elliot R. Zinger, P.C. has over 35 years of experience in assisting clients in their efforts to hold those responsible for their loved ones’ deaths liable for their misdeeds. Mr. Zinger fought on behalf of the Estate of Benjamin Lou to obtain a settlement of $500,000 after he was removed from a North Side dancing establishment. He suffered a heart attack, but the bar was responsible because they removed him rather than calling 911 after he fell to the ground. In 1997, Mr. Zinger  tried the Sec. 1983 wrongful death case of Ayers v. Robinson, 92 CV 7815. The case was tried before a jury before Hon. Judge James B. Zagel. The case arose out a police shooting of a 17 year old Englewood resident by an off duty Chicago Police Officer.

What is Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

Before you can determine whether you have the grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit, you need to understand what qualifies as wrongful death. Simply put, it is defined as any unintentional action or negligent behavior that results in the death of another person. There does not need to be ill intent involved for a case to qualify for wrongful death under Illinois law.

Examples that qualify include the following:

  • Loss of a loved one in a car accident determined to be the fault of another motorist or truck driver. Depending on the severity of the reckless behavior involved, the driver may also face criminal charges.
  • Medical malpractice resulting in fatal injuries. This can include surgical errors, injuries during birth, misdiagnosis and injuries caused by medical devices.
  • Workplace accidents. Most fatal work accidents occur on construction sites, but any accident that occurs at work due to another person’s irresponsible behavior that claims the life of another may qualify as wrongful death.

What Forms of Compensation Can be Recovered in an Illinois Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

Elliot R. Zinger, P.C. evaluates the details of each case to determine a fair value of the damages sought from the parties at fault for your loved one’s death. Generally, the damages that you can expect to recover from a successful lawsuit would include any variety of the following:

  • The cost of your loved one’s medical care prior to his or her passing, including emergency care.
  • The cost of providing a funeral and burial services to lay your loved one to rest.
  • The value of your loved one’s pain and suffering preceding his or her death.
  • For example, if your loved one provided health insurance to your family, the value of the insurance benefit would be included in the damages sought. If the individual was loss of consortium, which can be defined as the emotional anguish that accompanies the loss of a valued family member and member of the community.
  • The value of the deceased’s financial contribution to the family as well as the loss of benefits and inheritance caused by his or her death. For working at the time of his or her passing, a claim for lost income could be sought from a responsible party.
  • Punitive damages. The purpose of punitive damages is to punish the party responsible for your loved one’s passing. If the negligent act or behavior is considered especially reckless or contemptible, punitive damages may be applied as a means of providing your family with justice while making an example of the negligent party to discourage similar behavior in the future.

Who is Entitled to Initiate an Illinois Wrongful Death Claim?

Wrongful death lawsuits need to be initiated by an individual who has standing to pursue the case under Illinois tort law.  The marital status and / or the offspring of the deceased plays a role in whom is entitled to bring the case. Typically, close family members are the ones who are best positioned to bring the case.

In the case of a deceased person who was married at the time of his or her death, their living spouse would have grounds to bring a case. If there is not a surviving spouse, other family such as children, nieces and nephews could pursue a case. When a child is killed in an accident or due to medical negligence, parents would have standing to bring a case.

Just because an individual has standing to initiate a wrongful death case, does not mean that they will receive the proceeds from a wrongful death case under Illinois law. In order for the proceeds from a wrongful death lawsuit to be distributed, a judge must determine the amount that each family member will receive. While each circumstance is unique, most wrongful death distributions are based on the closeness and the relationship the surviving family member had with the deceased.

Why Do You Need an Attorney Following the Loss of a Loved One in an Accident or Error?

Many Illinois wrongful death claims are never filed because the families of the deceased feel that they have a low chance of success. They may also be wary of attorneys that don’t place their interests first.

Elliot R. Zinger, P.C. has fought on behalf of many families across Illinois to help them find justice following the loss of a loved one and your interests and needs are our priority. For this reason, we offer free consultations so that you can have your questions and concerns answered by a lawyer without any risk or obligation and if we do take on your case, you will not be required to pay us until we have successfully secured compensation on your behalf.