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What Damages are Available in an Illinois Wrongful Death Claim?

Posted on in Wrongful Death

waukegan wrongful death lawyerThe Wrongful Death Act is established under 740 Illinois Consolidated Statute 180 and provides that wrongful death actions must be filed by the personal representative of a deceased person and damages are paid to a deceased person’s spouse and next of kin. Wrongful death lawsuits can be very complicated, and any family dealing with a potential wrongful death claim should be certain to hire qualified legal counsel.

While the statute of limitations on a wrongful death claim is typically two years in Illinois, certain cases involving violent conduct or criminal actions could lead to additional time in some cases. Beyond the basic filing concerns, many people wonder exactly what kinds of damages they will be able to recover.

Common Types of Wrongful Death Damages

When it comes to damages in a wrongful death case, Illinois state law references “pecuniary injuries resulting from” death. Pecuniary injuries typically include compensatory damages that are often broken into economic damages and noneconomic damages.

Economic damages refer to the losses that people can calculate and prove in court. Noneconomic damages do not have inherent financial values but refer to much more subjective losses.

Your economic damage claims in a wrongful death action could include:

  • Loss of wages the deceased person would have provided

  • The deceased person’s medical bills

  • Funeral and burial expenses

  • Loss of medical insurance or pension

  • Loss of inheritance

  • Value of the services the deceased person provided for household

On the other hand, noneconomic damages can compensate family members for:

  • Mental anguish

  • Emotional distress

  • Pain and suffering

  • Loss of consortium

  • Loss of instruction and guidance for children

Beyond these basic damage claims, certain wrongful death cases could also result in an award of punitive damages. Punitive damages are awarded in cases where courts want to punish wrongdoers and send messages that certain conduct will not be acceptable.

Punitive damages in Illinois are limited to being three times the amount of economic damages. The Supreme Court of Illinois reiterated that punitive damages can be awarded when in cases involving intentional violence, malice, fraud, or gross negligence. They are allowed as a punishment, warning, and example to deter people from committing similar offenses in the future. 

Contact a Lake County Wrongful Death Lawyer

If your loved one was recently killed in an accident caused by another party’s negligence, you owe it to yourself to see if you may be able to file a wrongful death claim. Make sure you speak to a Waukegan wrongful death attorney at Salvi & Maher, L.L.C. so you can understand whether you might have a case. 

Our firm works closely with people who are filing wrongful death actions, and we know how to prove these cases. You can call 847-662-3303 or contact us online to set up a free initial consultation. 

Sources: 

https://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=073500050K2-1115.05

 

https://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=4002829962927988082&hl=en&as_sdt=400006&as_vis=1

 

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