When people are killed in Illinois because of the wrongful acts or negligence of others, their families are able to file wrongful death civil lawsuits in order to recover damages for their losses. There are several types of damages that may be recovered under the law depending on the types of losses that were incurred as a result. There are no caps on damages in Illinois wrongful death claims, and surviving spouses or next of kin may recover compensation for their pecuniary injuries. A personal injury lawyer in Woodstock may analyze a set of facts in order to provide a value of the claim for his or her client.
What Are Pecuniary Injuries?Under the Illinois Wrongful Death Act, pecuniary injuries include services, goods and monetary losses that are incurred by the decedents' next of kin. These can include the lost earnings of the deceased person and lost services that he or she provided. Pecuniary injuries may also include the reasonable funeral and burial expenses that the family had to pay. If the deceased person had medical expenses before succumbing to his or her injuries, those may also be recoverable in a wrongful death claim.
If there are surviving children, they may recover damages for the value of the loss of the parent's companionship, moral guidance and instruction that the parent would have provided if he or she had not been killed. Surviving spouses may recover damages for the loss of consortium with their deceased spouses. Juries are also able to award damages that they find to be fair and just, including compensation for grief and mental anguish.
Contributory Negligence and Damages
In Illinois, any contributory negligence by the people who were killed will be determined. A family's ability to recover damages may be limited by the percentage of negligence their loved one was responsible for in the accident's cause. If the decedent's negligence was 50 percent or less of the fault, the family will be able to recover damages that are reduced by the percentage of their loved one's fault. If the decedent was 51 percent or greater at fault, the family will not be able to recover damages in a wrongful death claim.
A personal injury lawyer in Woodstock may value a claim and work to negotiate a fair settlement on his or her client's behalf. He or she may also analyze the facts in order to determine the case's strength.