Wrongful Death

The sudden death of a loved one because of another party’s negligence creates intense personal grieving for members of the deceased individual’s family. In addition to a loss of regular income, families are also deprived of essential household help and the many basic emotional connections forged through personal relationships.

Family members of people killed by the negligence of other parties are entitled to file wrongful death lawsuits or survival actions to seek compensation for the various types of harm caused by the loved one’s death. The statute of limitations for most wrongful death claims in Illinois is two years, so it is critical for families to seek legal representation as soon as possible.

Attorney for Wrongful Death Claims in Chicago, IL

If your loved one was recently killed in Cook County because of another party’s negligent or intentional conduct, it is in your best interest to immediately retain legal counsel. Susan E. Loggans & Associates represents clients in Des Plaines, Berwyn, Chicago, Elgin, Evanston, and many other surrounding areas of northern Illinois.

Susan E. Loggans is an experienced personal injury lawyer in Chicago who handles all of the paperwork and investigative legwork so families can take the time they need to grieve. Our attorney will be an advocated for your legal rights and can provide a complete evaluation of your case as soon as you call (312) 201-8600 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. Susan E. Loggans & Associates provides legal services on a contingency fee basis, which means you pay us nothing if you do not receive a financial award.

Cook County Wrongful Death Information Center

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Wrongful Death vs. Survival Actions in Illinois

Under the Wrongful Death Act in Illinois, 740 Illinois Compiled Statute 180/1 states:

Whenever the death of a person shall be caused by wrongful act, neglect or default, and the act, neglect or default is such as would, if death had not ensued, have entitled the party injured to maintain an action and recover damages in respect thereof, then and in every such case the person who or company or corporation which would have been liable if death had not ensued, shall be liable to an action for damages, notwithstanding the death of the person injured, and although the death shall have been caused under such circumstances as amount in law to felony.

The statute was changed to include and additional paragraph—“No action may be brought under this Act if the decedent had brought a cause of action with respect to the same underlying incident or occurrence which was settled or on which judgment was rendered.”—after the Supreme Court of Illinois ruled in Best v. Taylor Machine Works, 179 Ill. 2d 367, 689 N.E.2d 1057 (1997) that the Civil Justice Reform Amendments of 1995 (Public Act 89-7) was “unconstitutional as a whole.” The Court specifically held unconstitutional the provisions for a $500,000 cap on compensatory damages for noneconomic injuries and the abolition of joint liability among joint tortfeasors.

Wrongful death claims compensate the spouse and next of kin for the death of a loved one. A wrongful death lawsuit may provide surviving next of kin economic damages such as medical or funeral expenses and loss of future income as well as noneconomic damages such as loss of consortium or emotional distress.

Survival actions, on the other hand, are legal claims brought by the executors of the deceased’s estate. Survival actions seek damages for personal injury claims the deceased would have had the right to assert had he or she survived.

Under 755 Illinois Compiled Statute 5/27-6, actions of replevin, actions to recover damages for an injury to the person (except slander and libel), actions to recover damages for an injury to real or personal property or for the detention or conversion of personal property, actions against officers for misfeasance, malfeasance, nonfeasance of themselves or their deputies, actions for fraud or deceit, and actions provided in Section 6-21 of "An Act relating to alcoholic liquors are all types of actions that survive in addition to those which survive by the common law.

Punitive damages are generally not recoverable in wrongful death or survival actions. However, there is an exception to the general rule. The Supreme Court of Illinois, however, held in National Bank of Bloomington v. Norfolk Western Railroad Co., 73 Ill. 2d 160 (1978) that the Wrongful Death Act does not prevent recovery of punitive damages when a statute expressly provides that punitive damages are available and that punitive damages are available after the death of the injured party. “Punitive damages for injuries prior to death should be unaffected by the subsequent death of the injured person, for punitive recovery addresses only the nature and gravity of a defendant's wrongful and wilful act,” the Court wrote.

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Common Causes of Wrongful Death in Chicago

Wrongful death claims can arise from any one of a number of possible fatality causes. It is important to understand that even if an at-fault party is not charged with a criminal offense or is not convicted in a criminal prosecution, that individual could still be held liable for damages in a civil case (such as a wrongful death lawsuit or survival action) because the standard of proof is much lower. A popular example of this distinction is Orenthal James (O.J.) Simpson, who was found not guilty in the criminal trial of murdering his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ron Goldman, but was found liable in the civil trial for committing the homicides willfully and wrongfully, with oppression and malice.

Some of the most frequent reasons that wrongful death lawsuits and survival actions are filed in Illinois include, but are not limited to:

  • Construction Accidents;
  • Murder;

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Cook County Wrongful Death Resources

Illinois Roadway Crash Data | Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) — IDOT has statutory responsibility for the planning, construction, operation and maintenance of Illinois' extensive transportation network, including highways, bridges, airports, public transit, rail freight, and rail passenger systems. Visit this section of the IDOT website to access aggregated Illinois motor vehicle crash data. You can find fatal crash data snapshots by year going back to 2004, crash data trends, and facts and statistics broken down by county, city, and types of victims.

Fatal Work Injuries in Illinois | United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) — The BLS is the United States Department of Labor agency responsible for measuring labor market activity, working conditions, and price changes in the economy. On this section of the BLS website, you can find information about Fatal Work Injuries in Illinois for 2015. Information is broken down by type of incident, industry, and occupation.

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Susan E. Loggans & Associates | Chicago Wrongful Death Lawyer

Was your loved one killed by another part’s negligent or intentional conduct in northern Illinois? You should avoid speaking to any insurance agents until you have legal representation. You should contact Susan E. Loggans & Associates as quickly as you can.

Chicago personal injury attorney Susan E. Loggans represents individuals all over Cook County, including Burbank, Oak Forest, Elmhurst, Park Ridge, Calumet City, and several other nearby communities. Call (312) 201-8600 or submit an online contact form to have our lawyer review your case and help you understand all of your legal options during a free initial consultation.

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