If you’ve suffered the sudden loss of a loved one, you’ve felt intense shock and grief. But if that loved one’s death was preventable and only happened because of someone’s negligent or reckless actions, you’re probably also feeling tremendous anger. At the Arami Law Office, we help people in your situation find closure by holding negligent parties accountable in civil court. No lawsuit and no jury award can ever give you back your loved one, but by filing a wrongful death action, you can force accountability for the person’s death and relieve some of the financial burden the perpetrator caused. If you’re considering a wrongful death lawsuit, we offer the following information and invite you to contact our office for help.
In Illinois, only someone who has suffered pecuniary loss can file a wrongful death claim. The need to show this financial hardship would seem to eliminate the ability to file a lawsuit on behalf of a deceased minor child. However, the courts have determined that a presumption of pecuniary damage to parents exists in the loss of a minor child’s “society,” the loving relationship that is gone. This allows parents to sue for the death of a child and even a fetus at the point of viability.
According to Illinois law, if a death results from an event for which the decedent could have sued for personal injury, a representative may bring suit for the exclusive benefit of a surviving spouse or next of kin, who are those who would inherit from the deceased under state law if the person died without a will. The court is charged with distributing any damage award to the beneficiaries in proportion to their dependency on the departed person.
Beneficiaries must take legal action within two years after the death, unless the person entitled to file suit is younger than 18 years of age. In such cases, the minor beneficiary must file suit within two years of turning 18.
Illinois law allows a jury to award damages for lost financial support and additional compensation it deems fair and just. This includes amounts for grief, sorrow, mental suffering and loss of society.
The court must consider the contributory fault of the decedent and reduce the award of compensation in proportion to that fault. If the deceased was more than 50 percent to blame, it bars any recovery for the person’s beneficiaries.
At the Arami Law Office, we’re motivated by genuine concern for grieving family members to pursue maximum damages in wrongful death actions. If your loved one passed away due to someone’s negligence, we can help. To schedule a free initial consultation at our Chicago office, call us today at (312) 212-1397 or contact us online.
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