Compassionate Wrongful Death Attorney in Peoria, IL
If you have lost a loved one in an accident that was caused by the negligent or intentional misconduct of another, Illinois law may give you a right to sue and recover damages for wrongful death. The compensation secured through wrongful death litigation can help support you and your family after the trauma of your loved one’s passing, which can make it easier for you to continue on without further interruption caused by financial pressures and other issues.
Wrongful death claims can be quite confusing for first-time plaintiffs who do not have experience with personal injury actions. Below, we will explore some of the basics for clarity.
What is a Wrongful Death Claim?
Wrongful death claims are unique in that they are not brought on behalf of the deceased individual (i.e., the person who was directly victimized by the negligent or intentional misconduct of the defendant). Instead, wrongful death claims are brought by the surviving family members to secure damages for the losses that they have sustained stemming from the death of their loved one.
For example, if you lose your father (who provided moral and financial support), you could ostensibly recover wrongful death damages that compensate you for the loss of companionship/guidance, as well as the loss of financial support.
Claims brought on behalf of a deceased individual are known as “survival actions,” and are filed and pursued by the estate of the deceased. Survival actions are brought so that the estate can recover damages for the losses suffered by the deceased following the accident at issue but prior to death. For example, in a car accident scenario, the estate might be able to recover for pain and suffering experienced by the deceased before they died. The proceeds recovered in a survival action will ultimately be distributed to the designated heirs, though, in accordance with their stake in the estate assets.
Who is Qualified to Pursue Wrongful Death Litigation?
It is worth noting that not every family member is entitled to compensation for the wrongful death of their loved one, even if they were emotionally close to the deceased. Under Illinois law, only the surviving spouse, children, parents of a minor child or specifically-designated heirs (in the estate planning documentation of the deceased) are entitled to recover wrongful death damages.
Further, not everyone is necessarily entitled to “initiate” a wrongful death action. Illinois requires that either the personal representative of the deceased (court-appointed or designated in their estate planning documentation), the surviving spouse or the surviving children pursue wrongful death litigation. Once the proceeds have been recovered through wrongful death litigation, they will be distributed to the qualified family members in accordance with their actual damages.
Contact Parker & Parker for a Free Consultation
Here at Parker & Parker, our team has decades of experience working with a variety of personal injury plaintiffs, including those who are bringing claims due to the wrongful death of a beloved family member. We understand the unique challenges faced by wrongful death claimants, both emotionally and financially, and are committed to providing compassionate, detail-oriented advocacy that is tailored to their needs.
If you’d like to speak to a skilled Peoria wrongful death attorney about your case, we encourage you to get in touch with our firm as soon as possible. Call us at 309-673-0069 or complete an intake form to request a free consultation.