Peoria, IL Wrongful Death Attorney
In a legal context, wrongful death denotes a civil action seeking damages against a party legally responsible for causing the death of another through negligence or wrongdoing. Certain survivors of the deceased have a right to recover compensation in a wrongful death claim against the at-fault party. Compensation in a wrongful death claim is for the benefit of surviving family members of the deceased.
If you have lost a loved one because of someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing, no amount of money can ever compensate you for your loss. A wrongful death claim is a legal action to seek justice for your loved one and to pursue compensation for your family’s future. Contact our Peoria law office today to schedule a free, no obligation consultation. We can help you through this tough time.
Why Choose Our Peoria Law Firm?
- Our Peoria injury attorneys have more than 40 years of experience representing people who have wrongfully injured through the negligence of others.
- We are client-oriented and committed to serving the best interests of the people we represent.
- Our trial lawyers are not intimidated by large corporations. We will not hesitate to take your case to trial if to seek justice for your loved and the compensation your family deserves.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Illinois?
Under the Illinois Wrongful Death Act, a wrongful death claim must be brought by and in the name of the personal representatives of the deceased. The amount recovered is for the exclusive benefit of the surviving spouse and next of kin of the deceased. Next of kin means the closest family members. This would be:
- Surviving spouse and children; or if none,
- Legal parents and siblings; or if none,
- Other legal relatives.
If the deceased person left no surviving spouse or next of kin, damages will go to pay for hospitalization and medical treatment in connection with the last injury or illness of the deceased, and to the personal representative of the deceased to cover the costs of administering the estate and prosecuting the wrongful death action.
What Is the Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death in Peoria, IL?
Like all states, Illinois imposes a time limit on wrongful death lawsuits. If you have the right to file a wrongful death claim, you must do so within two years of your loved one’s death, according to 740 Illinois Compiled Statutes 180/2. You may have a longer deadline, however, if your loved one died due to the violent intentional conduct of another person. In these cases, Illinois law gives plaintiffs five years from the date of the death, or one year after the final disposition of the defendant’s related criminal case, if charged with certain crimes.
- First-degree murder
- Intentional homicide of an unborn child
- Second-degree murder
- Voluntary manslaughter of an unborn child
- Involuntary manslaughter or reckless homicide
- Involuntary manslaughter or reckless homicide of an unborn child
- Drug-induced homicide
The Illinois civil courts take statutes of limitations seriously. Missing your deadline will almost certainly result in forfeiting your right to any potential damages you may have earned. State law issues different statutes of limitations on wrongful death claims according to the nature of the death. Fatal personal injury accidents have a two-year deadline, but other causes of death may have different statutes of limitations. It is important to speak to an attorney as soon as possible after losing a loved one, to avoid missing your time limit.
What Type of Damages Can One Recover from a Wrongful Death Suit in Peoria, IL?
Wrongful death suits differ from personal injury lawsuits in terms of types of damages a plaintiff could recover. Wrongful death is a different type of loss, and may make the claimant eligible for unique types of damages depending on the situation. The goal of wrongful death damages in Illinois is to exclusively benefit the deceased person’s surviving spouse and next of kin.
- Grief and sorrow
- Mental suffering
- Decedent’s medical bills
- Reasonable funeral and burial expenses
- Loss of care and companionship
State law gives a jury the right to award whatever damages it deems fair and just according to the losses the next of kin suffered as a result of the death. The courts will distribute damages to plaintiffs according to how dependent each was on the decedent, as an assessment will determine. Certain damages, such as funeral and burial expenses, may only go directly to the estate. Hiring an attorney to represent you can help you obtain the maximum possible amount for your claim.
What Must be Proven in a Wrongful Death Claim?
Whether medical malpractice, slip and fall, vehicle accident, or other cause of death, the basis of most wrongful death claims is that the negligence of a group or individual caused the death of the deceased. The claimants’ attorney must prove negligence for the judge to award damages in the case. Proving negligence is the most critical part of the process and can be difficult to do; it is the reason most claimants hire attorneys with experience in this area.
To recover compensation and hold responsible parties accountable for wrongful death, you must establish the following elements:
- That a person has died;
- That the death was caused by the negligence of the responsible party;
- That the person’s death caused suffering for surviving family members; and
- That there is an appointed representative for the estate of the deceased.
Key Wrongful Death Questions to Ask in Peoria, IL
At Kanoski Bresney, our main mission is to ease the suffering of surviving loved ones after an unexpected death in the family. One of the ways we do this is by answering their most pressing questions. We can help you find answers to questions you may have about your loved one’s death and the upcoming legal process, during a free consultation in Peoria.
- Do I have a wrongful death claim? If you lost a loved one due to someone else’s negligence, recklessness, or intentional criminal act, you likely have grounds for a claim.
- I lost my spouse’s income. What now? A successful claim could result in reimbursement for the wages your loved one would have earned had he or she survived.
- I was a bystander. Can I sue for emotional distress? It may be possible to bring a claim for emotional distress or mental anguish damages if you witnessed the death of a loved one.
- How much does a lawyer cost? At Kanoski Bresney, you will not pay anything for our legal services unless we secure you a monetary award. We operate on a contingency fee basis.
It is understandable to have many questions and concerns following the tragic death of someone close to you. Our Peoria attorneys are here to answer your questions, connect you to helpful resources, and take care of the legwork on your case so you can focus on spending time with loved ones.
What are the Most Common Causes of Wrongful Death?
In Illinois, motor vehicle accidents involving two or more parties that are the result of negligence by one of the parties are one of the leading causes of wrongful death. Other common causes of wrongful death in Illinois include construction site accidents and defective consumer products. In 2017, Illinois determined that claimants could add wrongful death suits to medical malpractice suits past the statute of limitations; as a result, medical malpractice remains a leading cause of wrongful death in Illinois. Wrongful death can occur whenever the negligence or wrongdoing of a party leads to the death of a person. Common causes of wrongful death include:
- Motor vehicle accidents caused by negligent drivers
- Slip and fall accidents on someone else’s unsafe property
- Medical malpractice
- Defective or dangerous products
- Construction accidents
- Workplace injuries
Contact Our Peoria, Illinois Office Today
When you are grieving the loss of a loved one, the last thing you need to deal with is a complex legal matter. While you are dealing with your loss, our experienced Peoria wrongful death lawyers can protect your legal rights and aggressively pursue maximum compensation for your family, as well as justice for the loved one you have lost. A Peoria wrongful death attorney with experience in wrongful death cases is best suited to handle cases of negligence, as it is often difficult to prove. Often, personal injury attorneys will pursue wrongful death settlements on a contingency fee basis. The attorney will only charge a fee if the case results in damages awarded to the client. For this reason, a claimant pays no upfront cost for hiring an attorney for a wrongful death claim.
Our Peoria wrongful death attorneys at Kanoski Bresney are committed to helping your family seek justice for a loved one who died through the negligence of another. Call us today for a free case consultation.