Chicago Wrongful Death Lawyer
Featured: Attorney Uche secures $1.18 million against Chicago police for wrongful death.
Losing a loved one is an extremely painful experience that may likely result in financial hardship and emotional trauma. It becomes even worse when you lose your loved one under circumstances that would not have happened but for the negligence of another person. There are many scenarios in which this may occur including vehicle accidents, manufacturing defects, medical malpractice and other types of accidents.
CNBC reported that over 250,000 persons in the United States die from medical errors according to a recent study conducted by The John Hopkins University. This is reportedly the third-highest cause of death in the United States. But malpractice is just one out of many incidents that lead to wrongful deaths. As at 2005, over 45,343 persons died from motor vehicle fatalities.
A 2017 CDC report showed that about 169,936 unintentional deaths occurred in that year alone, accounting for the third highest cause of death in the United States. The report also disclosed that an average of 52 persons out of every 100,000 are likely to lose their lives to wrongful or unintentional deaths.
These are very disturbing figures. Even more disturbing is the fact that these reports barely cover all the possible incidents of negligence resulting in wrongful death. It is almost impossible to fathom the hardship the families of these deceased persons have to suffer for the negligence of another person or entity.
Aside from the grief associated with losing a loved one, wrongful deaths are so sudden and can negatively affect a family’s finances. All this coming at a time when funeral costs have risen and now cost thousands of dollars. Outstanding medical bills and other fees may also significantly weigh down a family’s financial standing.
Thankfully, the law provides ways for aggrieved families to secure justice and compensation for their loss, and ultimately, closure. At Uche PC, we can advise on and help you pursue a wrongful death lawsuit to hold the people responsible for your loved one’s death accountable.
If you have lost a loved one to a wrongful death incident, our Chicago wrongful death attorneys can advise you on your rights and options.
What qualifies as a Wrongful death?
Not all deaths qualify as wrongful death. Some deaths arising from seemingly unintentional incidents may not be a wrongful death under the law. In fact, not only unintentional acts resulting in death qualify as wrongful death. The law provides for a wider latitude. The important considerations when determining whether a death qualifies as wrongful death is the law and the set of facts.
Wrongful death is defined under the Illinois Wrongful Death Act as death resulting from the wrongful act, neglect or default of another. To put it simply, wrongful death is death or fatality resulting from the negligence or misconduct of another person or entity. Entity in this instance may be a corporation or even an agency of the government like the police and law enforcement officers. As a result, wrongful death under Chicago laws can result from;
- Intentional Conduct
- Unintentional Conduct
- Other types of misconduct.
Under Illinois’ Wrongful Death Act, the definition of wrongful death also includes personal injuries resulting in death for which the deceased would have been eligible to seek damages. Some of the circumstances for which a wrongful death claim can be brought in Illinois includes;
- Work accidents due to exposure to work hazards
- Vehicle accidents e.g. Truck, Aviation or Boat accidents
- Medical malpractice resulting in death of the patient
- Elder abuse
- Police brutality
A common example of a wrongful death lawsuit is the infamous case of O.J. Simpson whom a criminal court in California pronounced as not guilty in a murder case against him in 1994. Yet, on the same set of facts, he was found liable in a civil claim for the wrongful death of his victims and ordered to pay $33.5 million in damages. The reason why this happens is because the standard of proof in criminal cases is higher than that of civil cases.
At Uche P.C., we are not swayed by the size or stature of the culpable person or entity when fighting for our clients. In fact, recently we were able to claim over $1 million dollars in damages against Chicago Police for a wrongful death. We can fight for you too.
Wrongful Death Laws in Chicago
There are certain avenues under law that can be followed to secure reliefs for wrongful death of a relative. It is only right that this is in place to mitigate the hardships suffered by the families of victims. Aside from the guarantees of the right to life and Liberty under the United States Constitution and some federal laws, States in the United States also have enactments governing wrongful death claims.
In Chicago, the relevant law is the Illinois Wrong Death Act (WDA). As discussed earlier, the WDA makes provisions for who can claim compensation for wrongful death, the time limit for filing a wrongful death action and requirements of proof among other things.
Recovering Compensation for Wrongful Death
To recover compensation in a wrongful death lawsuit you must first prove that all the elements of wrongful death under the law. The elements to be proven are:
- Duty of care: A plaintiff must show to the court that the defendant owed the deceased person a duty of care. This implies the existence of a moral or legal obligation on the defendant to exercise care or ensure the safety of the deceased person. For example, a worker in a nursing home has an obligation to ensure the safety of an elderly person entrusted in his or her care.
- Breach of duty of care: The second requirement is to show that the defendant has breached the said duty of care. If the worker in the example cited above fails to ensure the safety of the elderly person or subjects the person to abuse, then he or she has breached the duty of care. Another example is when a police or law enforcement officer uses excessive force on a person without any lawful justification.
- Causation: The third and final requirement is that plaintiffs must be able to show a connection between the breach of the duty of care and the death of the deceased. Sometimes to do this, an autopsy may be required or additional medical or scientific evidence.
Once all these requirements are proven to the satisfaction of the court, you may proceed to claim damages. The law defines damages as compensation for harm done awarded by the court to a plaintiff. The ultimate goal is to compensate for the loss and ease the hardship of the family of the deceased.
740 Illinois Wrongful Death Statutes 180 provides that damages are distributed to the surviving spouse and next-of-kin of the deceased based on their level of dependency on the deceased. The amount will be based on the court’s assessment of the circumstances. Some of the losses that can be covered by damages in your claim include:
- Loss of consortium or companionship meaning the value of relationship the family has enjoyed with the deceased which they have now lost.
- Emotional trauma occasioned by the death of the deceased usually referred to as pain, grief and suffering.
- Medical costs associated with the deceased’s death before and after he or she passed. This usually applies where the deceased did not die immediately.
Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death Lawsuits
Filing a lawsuit is probably the last thing on the mind of the grieving family members of the deceased. But it is important to secure your rights by filing early to avoid being caught out or time running out on your claim. There is a time limit within which a wrongful death claim must be filed. Under the law, this time limit is known as the statute of limitations.
Ordinarily, wrongful death cases must be filed within two years of death subject to a few exceptions. If the party responsible for the death is a local government entity or agent, the suit must be brought within one year if you plan on filing in state court. Your case will most likely not be heard if the set time elapses before it is brought before the court.
What the court considers mostly in determining whether the time has lapsed is the nature of the claim and time that has elapsed after the occurrence of death. If you are doubtful as to whether your case still falls within the timeframe set by law, speak to a Chicago wrongful death attorney immediately.
Who Qualifies to Bring a Wrongful Death Compensation Claim in Chicago?
Not everybody can bring a claim for wrongful death in Illinois or Chicago. This is because the compensation to be recovered is solely for the benefit of the surviving spouse or next-of-kin of the deceased.
Thus, the only persons capable of bringing the action under law are surviving spouses, parents, siblings and children depending on the circumstances. In certain situations, different individuals might have equal rights to bring a lawsuit on behalf of the Deceased; for instance, children or divorced parents. In such circumstances, and if there is a dispute as to who can sue, the courts will step in and appoint a personal representative within the family. Personal representatives may be one of the following;
- The Surviving spouse
- Surviving adult child of the deceased person
- Parents, in the case of a deceased minor
- Siblings of the deceased
- Adoptive parents or adopted Child
How Attorney Uche Can Help you
The road to compensation can be a very technical one requiring the services of experienced attorneys. Here are a few ways our wrongful death attorneys can help you;
- Investigate the facts of the case: The first thing we do when a person contacts us with respect to a wrongful death claim is to listen and take down the facts narrated to us. We may ask questions during this stage to clarify some of the facts. We will then proceed to investigate the circumstances surrounding the case. This is to ensure that we do not miss important facts that may be important to the compensation you are entitled to receive.
- Evidence Gathering and Taking Down of Witness Statements: Evidence is crucial to the success of your case. In fact, for special damages, we have to present payment receipts, bills, tests and autopsy reports where applicable in court to obtain certain types of compensation. We also need to contact witnesses to the incident and take their depositions. For those that have to testify at trial we have to prepare them to protect your case. This goes into building your case and showing the court that your claim is backed by facts and law.
- Hiring a Forensic expert where necessary: Not all wrongful death incidents are straightforward. Some come with varying degrees of technicalities that can only be proved by forensic experts. Sometimes, a forensic expert may be needed in relation to evidence like autopsies or video recordings of the incident. Our Chicago wrongful death attorneys have vast experience in practice and can hire the best experts on your behalf.
- Evaluation of facts: After investigating the facts, we will proceed to evaluate the relative strengths and weaknesses of your case. We also look at the position of your case in light of trends in Illinois courts and the likelihood of the court granting the reliefs we are claiming.
- Advising on settlement offers: Sometimes, wrongful death cases are settled before trial commences. As attorneys to a client in a wrongful death lawsuit, we receive settlement offers on behalf of our clients and advise them on the suitability. This is to safeguard their interest from being shortchanged.
This outline is just a mere fragment of what we do and the extent we will go to protect the rights of our clients.
We are just one call away
Have you lost a loved one to a wrongful death? Our Chicago wrongful death attorneys know how hard this period must be for you and we are ready to help you obtain compensation.
While money cannot replace your loved one, we understand the emotional closure that securing justice can bring to you and your family. Call Attorney Uche at: (312) 380 5341 or contact us via our website and let’s talk about your case.
Beyond focusing on wrongful death cases, our firm also focuses on other forms of personal injury such as:
- Personal Injury
- Car Accidents
- Truck Accidents
- Nursing Home Abuse
- Medical Malpractice
- Birth Injury
- Police Brutality
- Civil Rights
Call us immediately at: (312) 380.5341, if you or soemione you know has experienced the loss of a loved one from a wrongful death!
Where We Are
Email: email@example.comAddress: 314 N. Loomis St. Ste G2, Chicago, IL 60607 Business Hours: 24/7