How To Prove Your Wrongful Death Case In Illinois?

wrongful death

Wrongful death in Illinois, as in many jurisdictions, is a legal concept that arises when the negligent, reckless, or intentional actions of another cause a person’s death. Under Illinois law, a wrongful death is one where the deceased could have pursued a personal injury lawsuit had they survived.

This definition of wrongful death encompasses a range of scenarios, from medical malpractice to fatal car accidents and even intentional acts like homicide. The cornerstone of a wrongful death claim in Illinois is that the death has not only caused emotional grief, but has also led to measurable damages, such as loss of income, loss of support and funeral expenses. There is also another claim in these cases for loss of companionship.

The legal criteria for a wrongful death claim in Illinois are specific and must be rigorously adhered to for a successful lawsuit:

  1. There must be a demonstrable death of a person. This fact sets the stage for the claim.
  2. The death must have been caused either by a wrongful act, negligence, or default of another person or entity. This means that there needs to be a direct causal link between the actions (or inactions) of the defendant or defendants and the death of the individual.
  3. If the deceased had survived, they must have been entitled to bring an action to recover damages.
  4. There must be surviving beneficiaries or dependents who have suffered a pecuniary loss due to the death.

These criteria establish the framework for evaluating wrongful death claims in Illinois courts.

The significance of wrongful death cases in the Illinois legal system cannot be understated. These cases serve multiple purposes:

  1. they provide a mechanism for the deceased’s family to seek justice and compensation, they hold individuals or entities accountable for their actions, and they act as a deterrent against negligent or harmful behaviors.

In a broader sense, wrongful death claims reflect the value that the legal system places on human life and the importance of societal responsibility. Each case not only seeks to redress the losses suffered by the deceased’s loved ones but also reinforces legal and ethical standards for behavior and care in various aspects of life, from healthcare and driving to manufacturing and property management.

Legal Standards and Requirements for Proving Wrongful Death in Illinois

In Illinois, the legal framework for proving wrongful death is anchored in several critical standards that align with broader principles of tort law. These standards include duty of care, breach of duty, causation, and damages, each playing a pivotal role in adjudicating these claims. Understanding these standards is essential for anyone navigating a wrongful death lawsuit in Illinois.

Duty of Care and Breach of Duty

The concept of ‘duty of care’ is fundamental in wrongful death cases. It refers to the legal obligation of individuals or entities to act with a reasonable level of care towards others. In Illinois, proving a wrongful death claim necessitates establishing that the defendant owed a duty of care to the deceased.

For instance, doctors have a duty of care to their patients, drivers have a duty to operate their vehicles safely, and manufacturers have a duty to produce safe products. Once this duty is established, the plaintiff must demonstrate a breach of this duty. A breach occurs when the defendant fails to meet the standard of care expected in the given circumstances, whether through negligence, recklessness, or intentional actions.


Establishing causation is another critical component. It involves proving that the breach of duty directly caused the deceased’s death. This element often requires showing a clear and unbroken chain of events from the defendant’s actions to the fatal outcome. Causation can often be the most challenging aspect to prove, especially in cases involving medical malpractice or product liability, where multiple factors could contribute to the death.


In wrongful death cases, damages refer to the losses suffered due to the death. These can include economic losses like funeral expenses, loss of the deceased’s future income, and loss of benefits. Non-economic damages encompass pain and suffering, loss of companionship, and loss of consortium. In Illinois, the measure of damages is based on the pecuniary/monetary injuries resulting from the death, including the money, benefits, goods, and services the deceased might have provided.

Regarding the burden of proof, in Illinois, as in most states, the plaintiff is responsible for proving their case by a preponderance of the evidence. This standard is less stringent than ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’ used in criminal cases and essentially means that it is more likely than not that the defendant’s action or inaction caused the death.

Illinois shares many similarities with other states in its approach to wrongful death cases, but there are nuances. For instance, some states may cap certain types of damages in wrongful death lawsuits, which Illinois does not cap damages. Additionally, the statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death claim in Illinois might differ from other states. Such variations underscore the importance of understanding state-specific legal landscapes when dealing with wrongful death cases.

Challenges in Wrongful Death Litigation in Illinois

Wrongful death litigation in Illinois, while providing a path for justice and compensation, is has challenges that can make proving such claims an arduous process. These challenges arise from the complexities of the legal system, the nuances of individual cases, and the stringent requirements for proving fault and damages. Understanding these challenges is crucial for anyone involved in wrongful death litigation in Illinois.

Proving Negligence

One of the primary hurdles in wrongful death claims is the need to establish negligence. This involves demonstrating that the defendant failed to exercise reasonable care, leading to the death. However, proving negligence can be complex and intricate. For example, medical malpractice cases require showing that a healthcare provider’s actions deviate from the standard of care typically expected in the medical community. This often necessitates expert testimony, which can be complex and costly. In cases involving accidents, such as car crashes, an in-depth investigation into the circumstances surrounding the incident is required, often relying on accident reconstruction experts and forensic evidence.

Dealing with Corporate Defendants

When the defendant in a wrongful death case is a corporation, such as a manufacturing company or a medical facility, the legal battle becomes even more challenging. Corporations often have substantial resources, including legal teams and financial assets, to defend against wrongful death claims. They might use these resources to prolong litigation, complicate the discovery process, or mount a robust defense strategy that challenges every aspect of the plaintiff’s case. This disparity in resources can make it difficult and prohibitive for individuals or families, often grieving and under financial strain, to sustain a prolonged legal battle.

Issues with Collecting Evidence

Gathering sufficient and important evidence is another significant challenge in wrongful death cases. Evidence can include medical records, eyewitness testimony, surveillance footage, accident reports, and more. However, accessing this evidence can be difficult, especially when dealing with privacy laws, uncooperative witnesses, or lost or destroyed records. Additionally, the evidence must not only be collected, but also presented in a manner that effectively supports the claim, which requires legal expertise and strategic planning.

The Illinois legal system has mechanisms in place to address these challenges, but navigating them requires knowledge and persistence. Courts in Illinois adhere to established procedures that ensure fairness in the litigation process, such as discovery rules that allow both parties to obtain evidence from each other. Additionally, Illinois law permits the use of expert testimony to clarify complex issues like medical negligence or product liability, which is essential in presenting a compelling case.

Despite these legal provisions, the challenges in wrongful death litigation in Illinois highlight the importance of skilled legal representation. Attorneys specializing in wrongful death cases can provide invaluable assistance in overcoming these hurdles. They can marshal the necessary resources, navigate the complexities of the legal system, and present a compelling case to ensure that the victim’s family receives the justice and compensation they deserve.

Role of Legal Representation in Wrongful Death Cases in Illinois

The role of legal representation in wrongful death cases in Illinois is pivotal and often a determining factor in the outcome of these complex legal battles. An experienced attorney brings not only a deep understanding of the law, but also the ability to navigate the intricacies of the legal process, making their involvement crucial for those seeking justice in a wrongful death claim.

Importance of Legal Representation

In Illinois, the complexities of wrongful death litigation demand specialized legal knowledge. Our attorneys at Claim Your Justice are skilled in this area can accurately interpret the nuances of state laws and apply them effectively to the specific circumstances of a case. Our attorneys also play a critical role in handling the procedural aspects of the lawsuit, ensuring compliance with filing deadlines, court requirements, and legal protocols.

Moreover, the attorneys at Claim Your Justice will assess the value of the claim, including quantifying non-economic damages like loss of companionship, which can be particularly challenging for laypersons. Legal representation becomes even more essential when facing well-resourced defendants, such as corporations, where there is a significant imbalance in legal firepower.

Navigating the Legal Complexities

Attorneys adept in wrongful death cases are experienced in tackling the various challenges these cases present. They have strategies for effectively proving negligence and causation, two of the most complex aspects of these cases. For instance, they know how to gather and preserve crucial evidence, whether it involves subpoenaing records, interviewing witnesses, or working with forensic experts.

Claim Your Justice understands how to present this evidence compellingly in court, crafting arguments that resonate with judges and juries. Furthermore, experienced lawyers are adept at negotiating with insurance companies and defendants for fair settlements, and they’re prepared to take a case to trial if necessary.

Impactful Case Studies

There are numerous instances in Illinois where legal expertise has significantly impacted the outcomes of wrongful death cases. One such example involves a medical malpractice wrongful death lawsuit. In this case, the plaintiff’s attorney was able to successfully argue that a surgeon’s negligence during a routine procedure directly led to the patient’s death.

The lawyer presented expert medical testimony that clarified complex medical procedures and standards of care, which were crucial in proving the surgeon’s breach of duty. The result was a substantial settlement for the deceased’s family, which might not have been possible without the attorney’s specialized knowledge and experience.

In another instance, a wrongful death claim was filed against a large corporation following a fatal workplace accident. The company had a strong legal team and initially offered a minimal settlement. However, the family’s attorney conducted a thorough investigation, uncovering evidence of the company’s failure to adhere to safety regulations.

By leveraging this evidence and demonstrating the company’s negligence, the attorney was able to secure a significantly larger settlement for the family, highlighting the value of having robust legal representation.

These examples underscore the transformative role that legal representation can play in wrongful death cases in Illinois. Claim Your Justice attorneys not only provide the legal acumen necessary to navigate these complex cases but also offer emotional support and guidance to families during difficult times. Their expertise and dedication can make a significant difference in achieving a fair and just outcome, affirming the critical importance of legal representation in wrongful death cases in Illinois.

While the journey through a wrongful death lawsuit in Illinois can be fraught with challenges, the right legal support and guidance can lead to a successful resolution, bringing a sense of justice and closure to the bereaved family.

Speak To Our Schaumburg Wrongful Death Lawyer Now

Filing a wrongful death claim can feel difficult after losing a loved one, but it is important to seek compensation if the deceased’s death resulted from someone else’s negligence or intentionally wrongful act. It’s time to Claim Your Justice™ and a wrongful death lawyer at our Schaumburg law firm can speak with you today about your options.

You should never allow the negligent party to escape their liability. For more information, contact our wrongful death lawyer in Schaumburg at (847) 434-3555. Our attorneys have years of wrongful death claims experience and we will fight for you.

How Is Wrongful Death Proven In Illinois?

wrongful death

Illinois, like all states, has laws for wrongful death accident claims. This article discusses critical aspects of the Illinois wrongful death laws, including how wrongful death is proven. For questions about a wrongful death case, our wrongful death lawyer in Schaumburg at SJ Injury Law can help. 

Illinois Wrongful Death Definition

Under state law, wrongful death happens when someone dies because of another person’s ‘wrongful act, neglect, or default.’ A wrongful death lawsuit could be filed where the person who died could have brought a personal injury lawsuit if they had lived. Thus, you can think about a wrongful death claim as a variation of a personal injury lawsuit. The injured party cannot pursue their claim in court, so a family member has to step in and file the claim on their behalf.

Some states let the deceased’s family members file the claim. In Illinois, the claim must be filed by the estate’s personal or special representative. If the person who passed away died without a personal representative in their will, the court can name one. The personal representative must pursue the wrongful death lawsuit and handle other critical tasks related to the deceased’s estate.

What Must Be Proven In A Wrongful Death Claim?

Most wrongful death claims in Illinois are resolved outside of court. However, if you cannot reach a fair settlement with the defendant and the case goes to court, four elements must be proven:


First, you must prove that the defendant owed a duty of care to the deceased. A duty is typically owed to all foreseeable individuals who could be injured by the defendant’s failure to act as a reasonable person would in the same situation. Also, if the defendant’s conduct led to a zone of danger, they are liable for injuries in that zone. For instance, a driver owes a duty of care to other drivers to not violate traffic laws and drink and drive. If the driver got drunk and killed someone, they violated their duty of care.


After showing the defendant owed a duty to the person who died, you must establish that the defendant breached their duty. It is not always simple to prove how the breach occurred, but res ipsa loquitur allows the plaintiff to prove that the defendant breached their duty if you can prove the following:

  • The incident that caused the death is of the sort that does not happen unless there is a negligent act.
  • The incident that caused the death was because of something within the defendant’s control or dominion.
  • The defendant did not cause their own fatal injuries.


After showing duty and breach, you must show the link between the defendant’s actions or inactions and the death. First, you must show actual causation, which means the death would not have happened except for the wrongful act. Second, you have to show proximate causation. This means that the death was in the realm of possible harms that could have occurred because of the person’s negligent conduct.


Finally, you must prove that the defendant’s negligence led to damages for you in addition to the person’s death. Justice in a wrongful death lawsuit is represented by financial awards, offering evidence for your damages is vital. Damages that you could receive include:  

  • Economic: These include money for medical expenses, funeral bills, lost earnings, and lost future earning potential.
  • Non-economic: These are awarded for pain and suffering, emotional distress and trauma, and loss of companionship and consortium.  These damages may be hard to quantify, but the more evidence you show of how the death affected survivors, the higher value the case has.

What Damages Can Be Received In A Wrongful Death Claim?

If the wrongful death claim is successful, the court will provide damages to the survivors or estate. In Illinois, financial damages are provided to the surviving spouse and family according to their dependency level on the deceased person.

Damages in an Illinois wrongful death lawsuit are supposed to compensate the person’s family for the financial losses related to the death and non-economic damages. Some of the damages you could receive in the case are:

  • Loss of financial support that the person would have provided, including lost benefits and wages.
  • The person would have lost companionship, society, and intimate relationship with their spouse or domestic partner.
  • The deceased party would have given surviving children a loss of moral training, education, and instruction.
  • The family’s sorrow, grief, and mental suffering.

Statute Of Limitations For A Wrongful Death Lawsuit

A wrongful death lawsuit must be filed within a specific time. The statute for most wrongful death lawsuits in Illinois is two years from the date of death. However, if the person passed because of ‘violent intentional conduct,’ the claim must be filed within five years. Also, a wrongful death lawsuit may be filed one year after the criminal case (if any) is resolved if the person who caused the death was charged with one of these crimes:

  • Drug-induced homicide
  • Involuntary manslaughter
  • Reckless homicide
  • First or second-degree murder
  • Voluntary manslaughter of an unborn child

What If You Do Not Know Who To Sue?

Sometimes it is unclear who the correct defendant is in a wrongful death claim. This can happen when filing suit against a business; many corporate franchises and companies could use various names in public that are different from their corporate names.

If you sue the incorrect entity or person, and the statute of limitations lapses, you cannot amend the complaint to add the proper entity, even if you sued the incorrect entity incorrectly. To avoid this problem, speak to a wrongful death attorney as soon as possible. They can go over any relevant documents and investigate to find every defendant who could be liable for the person’s death. Suing the correct person or entity is critical to the success of your claim. 

How Do You Know If You Have A Wrongful Death Claim?

Before working with an attorney, you need to know if you have a possible wrongful death claim. To decide if you have a potential case, consider two questions:

  • Did your loved one die because of another individual’s negligent or intentional act?
  • Did you suffer emotional or financial damages resulting from the death?

If you can answer ‘yes’ to these questions, you could have a claim, and you should call a wrongful death attorney today. Your attorney will inform you of the types of evidence you will need to prove your claim. They also will tell you the potential damages you could receive in a settlement or verdict award. Before you contact an attorney, it can help to collect evidence, such as pictures, witness statements, and police reports. That way, the attorney will have a better idea of what happened.

How To Prove A Wrongful Death Claim

The success of your Illinois wrongful death claim depends on convincing evidence. Depending on the details of the accident and subsequent injuries, the following evidence could be critical to proving the claim:

Safety Records

Did your loved one pass away in a workplace accident? Your attorney can review the firm’s safety and training records. A review of these records could show that the company did not adhere to proper training and safety methods, contributing to the accident. This would establish negligence by proving that the company did not fully train employees. It also shows the employer owed your loved one a duty of care.

Video Footage

If available, videos and photos could be used to show the accident and how it happened. For example, a red-light video could show how the defendant ran a red light and hit your loved one in a crosswalk. Your attorney can usually obtain video footage as evidence, whether from a red-light camera or surveillance video from a nearby business.

Police Report

You can work with your attorney to obtain law enforcement’s report about the accident. The report should contain important accident details, including how it happened and, potentially, who was at fault. The report could also contain contact information for witnesses. This evidence could show your attorney how the accident occurred and what led to the person’s death.

Eyewitness Testimony

Witnesses also can prove a wrongful death occurred by describing what they saw and heard when the person passed away. They also may testify about how your loved one passed away, such as the severity of injuries they suffered.

Medical Records

Your attorney must show that the deceased’s injuries are related to the defendant’s negligence. This can be done with their medical records, which indicate the nature and extent of the deceased’s injuries.

Autopsy Report

This report could show in a medical malpractice case if a medical error caused the person’s death. The autopsy report could have critical information, such as body photos, a detailed examination of the body, factors that caused the death, and tissue sample descriptions.

Contact Our Wrongful Death Lawyer In Schaumburg

The loss may seem overwhelming if you lost a loved one recently because of someone’s negligence. You may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit to obtain damages. Contact our wrongful death lawyer in Schaumburg at SJ Injury Law for help at (847) 434-3555.

Employer Responsibility for Employee Criminal Acts

criminal act

Hello, this is Keith Shindler, back with another session of Facebook Live. Today, we’re joined by Jessica Wong-Barrera. The purpose of these Facebook Lives is to bring to the Facebook community useful information that’s going to help our viewers recover the maximum compensation when they’re injured as a result of someone’s negligence. Sometimes it could also be intentional, but generally, these injuries are the result of negligent conduct.

Today, we’re going to talk about something that was in the news maybe a month ago. What happened, sadly, was a seven-year-old girl was playing on her driveway very innocently. She was allegedly kidnapped by a person who was driving for one of the largest parcel delivery companies in the world. And then sadly, they found that little girl murdered. The question becomes can the family seek justice? If they come to me, I’m going to help them Claim Their Justice.

This is a criminal act of a third party and generally, the law is, and this law goes hundreds of years back, an employer is not responsible for the criminal acts of one of its employees. It could also be an independent contractor. So we’re going to explore a little bit of that today. Remember, if you have any questions that we can help you with regarding serious personal injury cases, reach out to us at 847-434-3555. You could also get us on the internet at or reach us through Facebook here.

What is the theory of liability that you would assert on behalf of a client who is trying to hold an employer liable for the criminal act of one of its employees or independent contractors?

There are several theories, one of them could be negligent hiring, one of them can be negligent training, and another could be negligent supervision. These are all legal arguments that are designed to avoid the defenses that an employer would assert in saying “I’m not responsible for the criminal act”

What is negligent hiring?

Negligent hiring. Staying with this example, we see that the employer hired this person or agreed to otherwise contract with this person, and the employer failed to do a criminal background check. Had the employer done a criminal background check, they would have seen that this particular person, hypothetically, had two prior violent felony convictions, or was recently released from prison for a violent felony. We would argue it was negligent hiring in making that person an employee or independent contractor.

Society and I included, all want to give people who served their time a second chance, no problem with that. You have to balance that against the type of activity that that person is performing. So negligent hiring would be failing to do a background check. If you fail to do a background check, you can’t argue that it wasn’t foreseeable, that you didn’t think this person could commit another violent act.

A background check would have shown, hypothetically, that there were two prior violent felonies. If you’re going to hire that person, they may need a little more supervision than just letting them perform the services and duties and job description the same way someone else would with no criminal background. That would be negligent hiring.

Okay, Can you tell us about negligent supervision and negligent training?

Yes, negligent supervision would be that if you have a person that you want to give a chance to, as you should to a person who may have a criminal background, you should supervise that person, you should maybe do a little extra supervision. It could be that the employer has to install a camera in this particular case in the car, or you have to have the person work in a team of two that would otherwise normally be only a team of one doing the job.

You have to provide supervision. If you as an employer want to avoid liability for an accusation as serious as this, then you need to make sure you’re able to protect yourself from the foreseeability argument. In court I’ll say Claim Your Justice is representing this person that was injured by a criminal act of your employee, it was foreseeable what your employee did to my client, and you should have supervised it better, so it will be negligent supervision. What’s next?

Well as you know, this is a very, very sad story. We feel for the young girl’s family. You were talking about the employee and the independent contractor, I thought you said you could only try and hold the employer responsible if the person that committed the criminal act was an employee?

Okay, so we’re talking about the difference between employees and independent contractors. Another defense employers used to use regularly is that we’re only responsible for employees because we provide the tools, the hours, the place for employment, and many other variables.

However, the law has extended to independent contractors to say you need to make sure if you’re having an independent contractor work for you, you do the same type of training, supervision, and hiring checks that you would do if it was your employee.

It’s not going to be an escape hatch for the employer or the person who hired the independent contractor to avoid a theory of liability for the criminal act of a third party. Anything else on your list of questions you want to discuss y’all we have?

If someone else comes to us at CYJ with the same scenario, would we be able to help them?

Yes. That’s why we want to keep educating the Facebook community so that people are aware of their options. Don’t think you’re down and out without a case. Call us it doesn’t take long for me to analyze whether there’s a theory of liability to pursue, and you as the person who’s injured, don’t want to wait, call right away.

We hope you’ve enjoyed the information, and learned from some of the information provided today. Remember, you can reach me or Jessica at Claim Your Justice at 847-434-3555 or Have a nice rest of your week. Bye.

Are There Limits To Illinois Wrongful Death Awards?

wrongful death

If you lost a loved one because of someone’s negligence, you know how devastating it is emotionally. Your loved one’s death also can wreak havoc on your finances and future. How will you pay the mortgage, car, and your child’s college education?

Fortunately, you have legal options if someone’s negligent action caused the death of someone close to you. You can file a wrongful death lawsuit in Illinois to receive compensation for your losses. Learn about wrongful death in Illinois below, then contact our Schaumburg wrongful death attorney for legal representation and assistance.

Are There Caps On Wrongful Death Damages In Illinois?

No. There are no caps for damages in Illinois for wrongful death. In 2005, the state of Illinois passed a law that limited noneconomic damages for medical malpractice lawsuits for wrongful death and personal injury. However, fortunately for the residents of Illinois, the law was overturned a few years later because the Illinois Supreme Court found it violated the state Constitution.

The Illinois Supreme Court found that decisions for damages on civil lawsuits should be made only by judges and juries. Today, there are no limits on wrongful death awards or personal injury lawsuits in Illinois.

What Happens When I File A Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

A wrongful death case begins with your attorney filing a wrongful death claim. This is accomplished by filing an insurance claim against the persons or companies responsible for the accident that caused the wrongful death.  Many times a lawsuit will be filed right away in order to preserve evidence as to how the accident happened.  If an insurance claim is filed first, the insurance provider will initiate an accident investigation.

Based on the outcome of the investigation, the insurance company may want more information or begin to discuss a financial settlement. They also may present you with a proposed settlement.

In this process, it is recommended to speak to a skilled Schaumburg wrongful death attorney as early as possible. Your attorney knows how to maximize the compensation you receive by accurately valuing your loved one’s future lost income, pain and suffering, and more. They also know how to attach value to your mental suffering, anguish, and loss of support and can prove it.

Most insurance companies offer a low settlement amount at first. However, you should be represented by an attorney during these negotiations because the insurance company will take you more seriously.

What Are The Most Common Wrongful Death Accidents In Illinois?

If you lost your loved one in any of the following Illinois accidents, you should consider filing a wrongful death lawsuit:

  • Auto Accidents

Car and truck accidents in Illinois are the most common type of wrongful death action. This is because so many Illinoisans drive every day. Car accidents are the third-leading cause of death among all ages in Illinois. Whether your loved one was driving near Woodfield Mall, Wintrust Field, or elsewhere in Schaumburg, many severe and fatal car accidents happen daily in this community and across Illinois.

Driver’s negligence causes most Schaumburg car accidents. It could be speeding, reckless driving, running a stop light, or failure to yield. You could receive compensation for your losses if any of these are proven.

  • Medical Malpractice

Did you lose a loved one in Schaumburg at a local hospital? Unfortunately, while most doctors at these facilities are skilled, they sometimes make medical errors. These errors  can happen if medical professionals cut corners, fail to follow standard medical procedures, or miss a diagnosis.

The most common medical malpractice cases are misdiagnosis and failure to diagnose. There also are surgical errors and medication mistakes that cause unnecessary deaths.

  • Tractor-Trailer Accidents

Tractor-trailer accidents are in their own category of wrongful death actions because of their size and the violence of the collisions. In addition, big rigs are much more likely to cause fatalities than other vehicles.

The reasons truck accidents happen also are different. Many truck accidents happen because of driver fatigue, distracted driving, mechanical problems, aggressive driving, and oversized loads.

  • Pedestrian Accidents

Pedestrian accidents often result in death because the person is unprotected when struck by the vehicle. Driver negligence causes most pedestrian accidents. However, the Illinois or Schaumburg local government may be liable if there was a problem with the road or lack of proper signs.

  • Workplace Accidents

Occupations in Illinois with higher risk, such as construction and manual labor, have higher job-related fatalities. However, wrongful death can happen in an office, such as at a corporate center. Work-related accidents also occur when people are overworked and get in fatal accidents on the way home.

  • Defective Products

The manufacturer, designer, or retailer could be liable if your loved one died because of a defective product. Product liability is the biggest reason companies spend a lot of time testing products over and over to ensure their safety. Common sources of defective product wrongful death lawsuits are pharmaceuticals, unsafe products, toxic foods, toys, and defective motor vehicles.

What Do You Have To Prove In A Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

To succeed in your wrongful death lawsuit, your Schaumburg wrongful death attorney must prove:

  • Your loved one died.
  • Another person’s negligence caused the death of your loved one.
  • You suffered financial and emotional losses because of the death.

You have the best chance of receiving compensation by hiring a wrongful death attorney.

Compensation In Wrongful Death Lawsuits

No amount of money can bring your loved one back to life. However, a wrongful death lawsuit will help you Claim Your Justice and reduces the financial burdens of a sudden death. If you are successful with your lawsuit, you may be entitled to the following compensation:

  • Medical bills
  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Loss of inheritance
  • Loss of guidance from a parent
  • Loss of companionship of a spouse
  • Mental suffering, sorrow, and grief of the surviving family
  • Pain and suffering of the deceased

You may receive this compensation from a trial verdict or a wrongful death settlement before the trial.

Illinois Wrongful Death Statute Of Limitations

Another critical point to remember with wrongful death in Illinois is the statute of limitations. You have only two years from the date of death to file a lawsuit. It is vital to contact an attorney as soon as possible to have the case filed on time. If you miss the deadline, the court will dismiss your case.  However, there are rare exceptions.

Schaumburg, Illinois Wrongful Death FAQ

Some of the most common wrongful death questions we receive are below.

  • Can I afford to hire a wrongful death attorney?

At Claim Your Justice, we do not think that a lack of money should prevent you from obtaining justice after losing your loved one to someone’s negligent act. Our Schaumburg wrongful death lawyers offer a free consultation. Also, we represent our clients on a contingency fee basis. You do not pay our fees unless we win your case.

  • Who can file a wrongful death lawsuit in Illinois?

The surviving spouse, children, siblings, and parents can file the lawsuit. Your attorney will determine who can receive compensation in your case and design the lawsuit with this in mind.

  • Can my wrongful death award be taxed?

IRS Publication 4345 states that wrongful death damages are physical damages and cannot be taxed. However, the funds may be subjected to the estate tax if the estate goes over the statutory limitation. Also, if you are awarded punitive damages, this could be taxed by the federal and state governments.

  • How long with the wrongful death claim take?

It depends on the type of accident and other case factors. Some cases can be resolved in a few months, and others take years. Some reasons these actions take longer include questions about liability, the amount of insurance available, and the insurance company lowballing the value of the decedent’s life.

  • Is a wrongful death settlement in the public record?

Usually, a wrongful death settlement is not public record. Settlements are generally kept between the parties of the lawsuit. In a wrongful death action, the settlement amount is known by the defendant’s insurance company and those who recover compensation for the death. All trial records will be available for public review if the case goes to court.

  • How do I receive wrongful death compensation?

A settlement or verdict award is usually paid as a lump sum. A structured settlement is also a possibility.  A structured settlement works like an annuity. The money is invested with interest and paid to the heirs, monthly or annually. Your attorney can arrange to have a structured settlement setup if you want a monthly income or if the recipients of the proceeds re under the age of 18.  

Speak To A Schaumburg Wrongful Death Attorney Now

Losing a loved one in an accident is one of the most agonizing things you can go through in life. During this emotionally devastating time, you might not want to think about taking legal action. However, if someone caused the accident, holding them accountable and receiving compensation for your losses is essential. Our Schaumburg wrongful death attorney can help you.

Claim Your Justice attorneys are proud to work with clients in Chicago, Hoffman Estates, Mount Prospect, Rolling Meadows, Grove Village, Schaumburg, Hanover Park, and Oak Streamwood. Please contact Claim Your Justice at 847-434-3555 to discuss your wrongful death case.


This information is not intended to be legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls, letters, and electronic mail. Contacting us does not create an Attorney-Client relationship. An Attorney-Client relationship is created when you sign a written agreement with our law firm. Please do not send any confidential information to us until such time as an Attorney-Client relationship has been established.

How is Wrongful Death Determined In Illinois?

wrongful death

An accident victim can suffer a wide range of injuries, all with long-lasting consequences. The most serious of all consequences accident victims suffer is death. When an accident results in death, the victim and their family have suffered an irreparable loss that cannot be undone. Illinois wrongful death law recognizes the catastrophic nature of this kind of accident, and the family of the deceased can sue the at-fault party or parties for compensation.

Did the Accident Cause the Death?

There are times when it is all too obvious that an accident has caused an injury. Proximity in time between the accident and the death, and the nature of the medical cause of death, as well as just common sense, all can lead to the inescapable conclusion that someone died because of injuries sustained in an accident.

It does not take a lot of medical evidence to show that someone who was alive when he was driving a car and immediately passed away inside the vehicle, died as a direct result of injuries sustained in the car accident.

There are other times when it is not so easy to tell whether an accident was the actual cause of the death, and that is an important question in Illinois’s wrongful death law.

For example, let’s say that there is an elderly person who sustains a fall in a store. He injures his shoulder so badly that he needs surgery the day after. After the surgery, he never truly wakes up from anesthesia, and after three days of lingering unconscious in the hospital bed, he passes away. Did the accident cause his death? Or a complication from the shoulder surgery? Or some other underlying medical condition that made his body unable to withstand the trauma of the surgery or the injury?

In cases like these, one error, omission, or injury can have a “domino effect” on the deceased’s health, with one injury or medical problem leading to another, until eventually leading to death.

These are all scenarios and questions that come up when a death is not immediate, or where there are “intervening causes” between an accident and a death.

That is why in many Illinois wrongful death cases, the first step is proving that the death was caused by the accident. Often, medical experts will need to be called in to testify as to the cause of the death.

Time Limits for a Wrongful Death Case

If and when it is established that the death is the result of the accident, a wrongful death case can be filed—but that is only if it is filed on time.

In Illinois, you only have two years to file a wrongful death lawsuit, unless the responsible party is a municipality or other governmental entity. Then you only have one year. Your attorney will need time to review your case, look over documents, or even retain experts, who may need their own time to review the facts of your case. Don’t wait to call Claim Your Justice.

When the Death is Not Caused by the Accident

What if the death was not a result of the injury or the accident? You may not be able to file a wrongful death claim.
For example, let’s say that Mary is in an accident where she is a pedestrian who is hit by a car. She recovers, but she is severely disabled because of injuries suffered in the accident. She files a lawsuit. Eight months later, while the lawsuit is pending, she dies from something totally unrelated to the accident.

When the case was first filed, it was not a wrongful death case—she did not die because of the accident, and in fact, lived for eight months afterward. But now she has passed. What happens to her case? Does it have to be dismissed because she is gone?

The Survivors Statute

In Illinois, her case does not die with her. It can be carried on by her relatives, in what is known as survival action, under the Illinois Survival Act. The Survival Act allows the victim, through the surviving family, to recover any and all damages which were incurred by the victim, including their pain or suffering, that was sustained from the accident all the way up until the actual death, no matter how the death was caused.

The time limit to file a survival action is two years from the date of accident. Remember the time limit is one year if the responsible party is a municipality or other governmental entity.

Damages for Wrongful Death and Survivor’s Act Claims

The damages that can be received or paid in both cases are somewhat different.

In a wrongful death case, it is the survivors—the family members of the deceased victim, usually-who are being compensated. Economic damages can also include the deceased’s medical expenses or funeral costs.

For example, family members can receive compensation for the loss of economic support that the deceased would have given if he or she had not passed away. The surviving family can sue for the emotional heartbreak of losing a beloved family member, including emotional distress.

In a survival action, the family of the deceased, through a personal representative that is appointed by a court, will continue the lawsuit filed by the deceased, to recover the damages that the deceased could have recovered if he or she had lived to the duration of the lawsuit.

When and if damages are recovered in a Survivor’s Act case, the damages belong to the estate and will be distributed in accordance with Illinois probate law. Most people do not leave “damages from my personal injury case when I am a victim in an accident” in their estate plans or their wills, so you may need to consult with a personal injury or even an estate law attorney, to see how proceeds of the lawsuit are distributed.

Remember that because the damages in a wrongful death case are damages sustained by the survivors, such as lost income, or love and a consortium of the deceased, those damages do belong to, and go straight to, the victim’s families, and are generally not subject to probate laws.

The damages will generally be distributed based on who needs them—for example, if a minor child has lost the financial support of the deceased parent, that element of damages may be paid to the minor. If a spouse would have received support, and those damages are recovered, that amount would go to the surviving spouse.

Which Action Do You File and Can You File Both?

There are times when both a wrongful death and a survival action lawsuit can be filed at the same time, for the same accident.

Generally, when the death is the result of an accident, unless the death was immediate, both a wrongful death claim and a survival action can be filed. The family will be trying to recover for their damages through the wrongful death claim (both economic and emotional or non-economic), as well as for the injuries, pain, suffering, and expenses that have been sustained by the deceased from the time of the accident to the death, through the survival action.

However, when the death is completely unrelated to the accident, the family likely would not have a wrongful death claim—they would be limited to only recovering the deceased’s losses, pain and suffering from accident to death, through the survival statute.

Likewise, if the death is immediate at the time of the accident, there may be no right to a survival claim, as the victim did not suffer anything before the accident—the entire claim may be for the family, for post-accident/post-death losses and injuries. Here, there may only be a right to file a wrongful death lawsuit.

Death Cases Can be Complex: Get Help

As you can see, a big part of analyzing damages when a victim dies is determining whether the death was caused by the accident and whether a wrongful death, survivor action, or both, can be used. There may be times when using one statute or another or both may yield a higher damages award. Sometimes the facts may make it so that you do not have a choice, but other times, when there is a choice, your wrongful death attorney can make a strategic choice, to try to maximize the recovery to the family.

Contact Our Schaumburg Wrongful Death Attorneys

Certainly, a lawsuit is no replacement for a loved one. However, when a family is suffering from emotional loss and the financial losses of a beloved family member, a wrongful death action can help the family recover and provide some financial stability for the family going forward.

Call our Schaumburg wrongful death attorneys at Claim Your Justice to schedule a free consultation at 847-434-3555 to help you if a loved one has passed away because of the carelessness or negligence of someone else.