The Chicago lawyers at Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., represent families who have lost loved ones in accidents caused by others. We believe these families should have access to prompt answers and compassionate service.
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Nothing is more traumatic than losing a loved one due to the wrongful conduct of another. Unfortunately, these avoidable tragedies occur often in Chicago, Illinois and across the country.
The lawyers of Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C. help families who have lost loved ones in accidents caused by others. We believe these families deserve compassionate service, prompt answers and just compensation.
Since our firm was founded, we have helped the survivors of wrongful death victims in Chicago and throughout Illinois. Our results include:
$9 million verdict in Lake County for the family of a 12-year-old boy who died on the operating table during surgery (affirmed by the Illinois Appellate Court).
$8.25 million settlement in Cook County for parents who lost their son only 40 days after his birth in a Chicago hospital due to a pharmacy error.
$7 million settlement in Cook County for a suburban Chicago family that lost a wife and mother who died when the chauffeur of her vehicle lost control in the snow on a ride home from the airport after a business meeting.
When you are ready to take legal action after loss of a loved one, call Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C. or connect with us online.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that unintentional injury is the primary cause of death among people ages 1-44. Motor vehicle accidents and other types of accidents, combined, are the third-leading cause of death among all ages in Illinois, according to the state’s Department of Public Health (IDPH). Consider these IDPH figures from a recent year:
Based on the CDC’s most recent annual statistics, the top three causes of injury deaths in the U.S. are:
A wrongful death occurs when a person is killed due to the fault of another party. Examples are deaths caused by car accidents, medical errors or defective products. Illinois has created laws to allow the estate and victim’s survivors to recover compensation. Those laws include:
A claim in Illinois is separate and distinct from a survival lawsuit. However, in most cases, both claims are pursued at the same time against the same parties.
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.
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.
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.
A wide variety of events can cause wrongful deaths. The most common are:
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.
A wide variety of acts can cause the wrongful death of a patient. The most common acts of medical malpractice and hospital negligence are:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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:
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.
Establishing a wrongful death lawsuit is similar to proving a personal injury claim. You must meet four elements:
|Duty||Defendant (individual, company or government agency) owed a duty to the deceased victim.||Defendant had a duty to drive reasonably safe and avoid harming others.|
|Breach||Defendant failed to live up to legally established duty.||Defendant drove drunk and caused a head-on collision.|
|Causation||Defendant’s actions (or inaction) served as the proximate cause of the victim’s death. “But for” the defendant’s wrongful conduct, would the victim have died?||If Defendant had not driven while impaired, the victim would not have died from injuries suffered in the head-on collision.|
|Damages||Survival – Victim suffered medical expenses, lost earnings and pain and suffering between victim’s time of injury and time of death.|
Wrongful death – Survivors suffered the loss of benefits carrying a monetary value, including money, goods and services, and endured grief and sorrow.
|Victim incurred $10,000 in medical expenses before dying two hours after suffering head injuries.|
Loss of a spouse’s services around the home.
Punitive damages cannot be sought in a wrongful death or survival lawsuit in Illinois.
The time period you have to file a legal claim in Illinois is called the “statute of limitations.” If you are filing a wrongful death lawsuit, the statute of limitations is two years from the date of your loved one’s death.
However, there are exceptions to this rule. For example:
If you are suing a government agency in Illinois for the wrongful death of a loved one, you generally must file a claim within one year. Special notice requirements may need to be met as well. It is crucial to have a lawyer review your case to determine if special time limits apply.
A wrongful death lawsuit in Illinois can only be filed by the “personal representative” of the victim. The victim may have appointed this representative in his or her will. If there is no will, a person can petition the local Probate Court to be appointed as the personal representative.
The claim is brought for the “exclusive benefit” of the victim’s surviving spouse and “next of kin.” Under Illinois law, next of kin includes “blood relatives” in existence at the time of the victim’s death who would take property if the victim had died without a will.
Any person or company that is legally at fault for causing the death of another can be sued under the Illinois Wrongful Death Act. Fault typically means negligent, reckless or intentional conduct. Common situations are:
In some cases, a city, county, state or federal agency may be responsible for the death of a loved one. Depending on the agency and facts of the case, the agency may be immune from a civil lawsuit or damages recovered from the agency may be capped. It will be important to work with a law firm that understands how immunity impacts your case.
The damages that can be recovered after the death of a loved one depends on whether the claim is brought under the Illinois Survival Act or Wrongful Death Act.
In a survival lawsuit, the estate may recover for harm the victim suffered between the time of injury and time of death, including:
The estate or individual survivors may bring a separate claim to recover funeral expenses.
In a lawsuit, the survivors may recover “just and fair compensation” for their own pecuniary losses, including the loss of:
The amount is based on evidence of what the deceased victim typically contributed in the past and likely would have contributed in the future. The amount must reflect the victim’s personal expenses and other factors, including his or her age, health and habits at the time of death. Grief and sorrow damages may also be recovered.
The amount also hinges on the degree of a survivor’s dependency. In this sense, a survivor’s relationship to the victim plays an important role. A spouse may seek to recover for a loss of consortium, for instance, while a child may seek a recovery for the loss of a parent’s guidance.
Even though your loved one or you may have been partially at fault for causing an accident or injury that led to the death, you are not necessarily barred from a recovery under Illinois law.
If the victim’s fault is more than 50 percent of the cause of his or her death, neither a survival nor a wrongful death lawsuit can be pursued. However, if the victim’s fault is not more than 50 percent of the cause, damages can be recovered. However, those damages would be reduced in proportion to the victim’s fault.
Additionally, in a lawsuit, the fault of those survivors seeking to recover damages is taken into account. If a survivor’s fault contributes more than 50 percent to the cause of death, a recovery is barred. If not, the survivor may recover damages. However, those damages would be reduced in proportion to the survivor’s degree of fault.
At Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., our lawyers and staff understand that the primary goals of a family going through a wrongful death lawsuit is to obtain answers about their loved one’s death, reach a sense of resolution and recover the funds they need to move on in life.
Our skilled, experienced and highly dedicated legal team can help you through this process in several ways, including:
If you have lost a loved one in an accident caused by someone else, the attorneys of Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C. want to help you. We will concentrate on the legal issues so that you can focus on more pressing matters while you work through your loss.
Our initial consultations are always free. At this consultation, we can discuss the victim’s death and evaluate how we can seek justice for you and your family.
We represent clients in Chicago and across Illinois. To learn more, call us today or submit our online form.
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