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Commonly Asked Questions about Wrongful Death Accidents

When a loved one dies from medical neglect, the family usually experiences many emotions, including anger and grief. The family may also debate whether to pursue a medical malpractice lawsuit. They will have many questions.

The Chicago medical malpractice wrongful death lawyers at Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., represent medical malpractice victims and those who have lost loved ones to medical or hospital negligence. Below are questions that surviving family members often pose to our attorneys.

Keep in mind, however, that every case has its own set of unique facts and legal issues. To discuss the specific circumstances of your case, call us today at 855-611-1015 or use our online form. We provide free, no-obligation consultations. We have offices in Chicago and Waukegan, and we represent clients throughout Illinois, including Cook and Lake counties.

Wrongful Death Accidents FAQs

Can I afford to hire an attorney to handle my wrongful death action?

At Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., we believe that a lack of funds should never prevent a surviving family member from pursuing justice following the death of a loved one. Our Chicago wrongful death accident lawyers provide free initial consultations, and we represent clients on a contingency fee basis. That means you pay nothing for our legal services unless we are able to secure a verdict or settlement for you. To learn more, call us today at (888) 616-4334 or complete our convenient online form.

What is a wrongful death accident lawsuit?

A wrongful death accident occurs when a person or business commits a negligent or intentional act that causes a person to die. A wrongful death accident lawsuit is a lawsuit brought by the victim’s surviving family members to recover money from the wrongdoer. The money that can be recovered includes compensation for economic and non-economic losses, such as loss of financial support, love, care, comfort, supervision, guidance, household assistance and general society.

Who can file a wrongful death accident lawsuit?

A wrongful death lawsuit may be filed by the surviving spouse and the next of kin of the decedent, including children, parents and siblings. An attorney can determine which family members may be entitled to compensation and structure the lawsuit accordingly.

What are common causes of wrongful death accidents in Chicago and Illinois?

A wide variety of events can cause wrongful deaths. The most common are:

  • Traffic accidents – More than 900 people died in traffic accidents in Illinois in 2010. Negligence, distracted driving and drunk driving contributed to most of these fatalities. A family can hold a negligent, distracted or intoxicated driver financially responsible for causing a fatal accident. Cars, motorcycles, trucks, bicycles and pedestrians can be involved in these accidents.
  • Job-related accidents – Common workplace accidents include falls from ladders and scaffolds, falling objects, flying debris, fires, explosions and motor vehicle crashes. An employer may be liable if a death occurs because the employer failed to provide safety equipment or adequate training or violated other safety regulations.
  • Medical malpractice – A health care provider commits medical malpractice if the provider’s negligence or wrongdoing causes a patient to die. Common situations include misdiagnosis, failure to diagnose, anesthesia mistakes, surgical errors and prescription drug errors.
  • Dog bites – Pet owners must exert control over their animals. The family of a dog bite victim may sue the dog’s owner for monetary damages.

What damages can be recovered in a wrongful death accident case?

Money damages are meant to compensate a person for the loss of a loved one. A jury may award compensation with reference to the pecuniary injuries resulting from the death, including damages for grief, sorrow, and mental suffering.

What are common causes of medical malpractice wrongful deaths?

A wide variety of acts can cause the wrongful death of a patient. The most common acts of medical malpractice and hospital negligence are:

  • Misdiagnosis – A doctor who skips medical tests or who misreads data may diagnose a less serious condition and fail to treat the patient’s actual condition.
  • Failure to diagnose – Sometimes, health care providers fail to diagnose conditions altogether. Then, patients receive no treatment at all.
  • Surgical errors – Surgeons and anesthesiologists sometimes botch procedures during operations. This can cause instant death or life-ending complications.
  • Medication errors – Health care providers make medication errors. They prescribe medications that a patient is allergic to, prescribe medications that cannot be combined with other medications the patient takes, or administer the incorrect dose or medication.
  • Anesthesia errors – A lack of oxygen flow, for instance, can lead to serious brain damage that, in many cases, proves to be fatal.

Who can recover in a medical malpractice wrongful death matter?

In a medical malpractice wrongful death matter, the victim’s spouse and next of kin may recover money. The eligible family members are listed in the Illinois Wrongful Death Act and include children, parents and siblings.

What damages are available in medical negligence wrongful death cases?

Surviving family members of wrongful death victims can be compensated for economic and non-economic losses, including loss of financial support, love, care, comfort, supervision, guidance, household assistance and general society. Surviving family members may also be compensated for their own personal grief and suffering. Surviving children may recover damages for the loss of instruction, moral training and education they would have received had their parent lived.

Who may be sued in a medical mistake wrongful death case?

A family may sue the person or entity whose wrongful act, neglect, or default caused the death to occur. For example, a family could sue a doctor, nurse, hospital, anesthesiologist and any other medical professional involved in the patient’s treatment. A lawyer can hire an expert to determine how the death occurred and who should be held responsible for the victim’s death.

What is the statute of limitations in an Illinois medical malpractice wrongful death case?

Most medical negligence cases in Illinois, including hospital negligence cases, must be brought within two years of the victim’s death. But, a family should not wait until this two-year deadline approaches before contacting a lawyer. Lawyers need time to investigate complicated medical malpractice cases.

Can I afford an attorney to pursue a medical negligence wrongful death lawsuit?

At Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., our mission is to seek justice for the families of wrongful death victims regardless of their financial circumstances. That’s why our Chicago medical malpractice lawyers provide free initial consultations and do not charge for our legal services unless we secure a verdict or settlement on your behalf. To learn how we can assist you, call us today at 312-372-1227 or fill out our online form. We have offices in Chicago and Waukegan, and we represent clients throughout Illinois, including Cook and Lake counties

Who can be sued in a wrongful death accident case?

In a wrongful death accident case, the surviving family member files a lawsuit against the person or entity whose negligence, wrongdoing or default caused the death. Depending on the cause of the death, the responsible party could include:

  • Another driver
  • Employer
  • Co-worker
  • Doctor, nurse, anesthesiologist, hospital or other health care provider
  • Owner of a dog who killed a person.

When does a wrongful death lawsuit have to be filed?

While some exceptions apply, most wrongful death accident lawsuits must be filed within two years of the victim’s death. If you are considering filing a wrongful death action, however, do not delay. These complicated lawsuits take time to develop. The sooner an attorney can begin working on a case, the better.