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Michael Agruss

Written and Reviewed by Michael Agruss

  • Managing Partner and Personal Injury Lawyer at Mike Agruss Law.
  • Over 20 years of experience in Personal Injury.
  • Over 8000+ consumer rights cases settled.
  • Graduated from the University of Illinois Chicago School of Law: Juris Doctor, 2004.

It’s unfortunate that people ever have to file wrongful death lawsuits on behalf of loved ones who were killed by negligent parties. Many people assume that it will be obvious to a judge that their loved one was killed by another, but wrongful death cases are rarely simple. Usually, the plaintiff is filing a claim against a large hospital, nursing home, trucking company, product manufacturer, or whoever is liable for the wrongful death in these cases. 

There is no way to ever be fully compensated for wrongful death. But there are ways to get the compensation you deserve for the expenses you incurred, such as paying for funeral and burial services. The wrongful death attorneys at Mike Agruss Law can walk you through the process of filing a civil claim in a wrongful death action and explain to you how your case is different from criminal prosecution.

What qualifies as wrongful death?

A wrongful death occurs when a person is killed because of another person’s or entity’s negligence or misconduct. Had the death not occurred, then the decedent would have been entitled to damages after filing a personal injury lawsuit against the negligent defendant. While there may be a criminal prosecution related to the wrongful death, a wrongful death lawsuit is a civil suit separate from criminal charges. A wrongful death lawsuit could arise as a result of:

The burden of proof is on the plaintiff. They must demonstrate that the relative’s death was caused either partly or wholly by the negligence and recklessness of the defendant. However, the standard of proof is lower in these cases than in criminal cases for murder and manslaughter. Because wrongful death cases are heard in civil court, the plaintiff only has to demonstrate a preponderance of evidence. 

Under the wrongful death laws of the state of Illinois, the family of the decedent is able to bring forth a wrongful death claim to recover the full value of the life of the decedent and recover damages to cover the funeral expenses, pain and suffering that the decedent experienced before their death, lost wages, and punitive damages.

Who can sue for wrongful death in Illinois?

Illinois law is very clear that only specific personal representatives of the deceased may receive damages as deemed fair and just, considering the pecuniary injuries resulting from the death as well as the emotional pain (grief, sorrow, mental suffering, etc.). The eligible loved ones who are eligible to receive benefits include:

  • The surviving spouse
  • Surviving children
  • Surviving parents
  • Surviving siblings

It is best to speak with a Chicago wrongful death attorney to determine who is entitled to compensation and answer any questions you may have about whether or not you can recover damages. You will want to speak with a lawyer about your wrongful death case soon. There is only so much time you have to file a wrongful death suit due to the statute of limitations.

What is the time limit for filing a wrongful death claim?

A statute of limitations is how long an injured party has to bring forth a claim and file it with the courts. This prevents people from showing up years later after evidence has been changed or deteriorated, claiming that they suffered harm in the past. After all, memory fades, evidence that was once fresh can be thrown out, and other factors can affect how cases are handled. Some crimes have no statute of limitations, such as murder. But when it comes to personal injury cases, most have a statute of limitations. Each state sets its own statute of limitations. In the state of Illinois, the statute of limitations if you are filing a wrongful death lawsuit is four years from the date of your loved one’s death.

Who is entitled to wrongful death benefits?

A wrongful death lawsuit is intended to compensate survivors for the loss of their family members, but the state of Illinois has specified who those beneficiaries may be. Surviving family members who bring forth a wrongful death lawsuit may receive compensation from a large insurance company, hospital or healthcare network, or large manufacturing company. They will need an attorney who will help them understand how they will split up the award among the survivors. 

If the deceased had a spouse but no children, then the spouse will inherit their entire estate. If the decedent had children with their spouse, the spouse would receive half of the estate, and the rest would be divided up among the children. Likewise, if the decedent’s spouse had already passed away or did not have a spouse, the award would be split up equally between the children.

In the case where the victim did not have children, a spouse, or a sibling, then their parents will inherit the entire estate. If they have siblings, whether they are adopted or not, then the estate will be divided among the parents and siblings. If there are no parents and only siblings who survive the decedent, the world will be divided equally between each sibling.

How much is a wrongful death lawsuit worth?

The average wrongful death settlement can range from low to high. Some are as low as $1,000, and some have been in the tens of millions. Call our office today, and we can tell you more about the hundreds of thousands of dollars that we have won for our clients and give you a better idea of what you will need to prove your case.

You can get help today from one of our wrongful death lawyers, who will provide you a free case review. There are no fees unless you win, so call now so our team can help you determine if you have a case.

What are some types of damages I can be entitled to after a wrongful death suit?

A Chicago wrongful death lawyer can help you recover damages related to the wrongful death case, including:

  • Funeral and burial costs
  • Lost wages for the value of money the decedent would have earned had they remained alive
  • The cost of medical treatment that the cease victim incurred as a result of their injury prior to their death

Victims can also receive damages for the decedent’s mental and physical pain and suffering prior to their death, as well as non-economic damages for being deprived of the decedent’s love and companionship.

What is wrongful death in a nursing home?

These are some of the most heart-wrenching stories because family members put their trust in nursing home facilities to care for their loved ones. So when a loved one is killed by elderly abuse or neglect, the families are devastated. What makes these cases even harder for families is that a lot of times, the nursing home will claim that the victim died due to their existing underlying health conditions. 

Because older adults tend to have a more significant number of underlying conditions than younger people, if they are not cared for, then their health will deteriorate. A person who requires care but cannot get that care — whether it is due to understaffing or incompetent staffing — will suffer. Nursing homes need to be held accountable for not providing adequate staff and meeting the needs of their residents.

Cause of Death: Accident

Car accidents are some of the most common causes of wrongful death cases in the United States. Drunk drivers, aggressive drivers, people who are texting and construction all contribute to the dangers of the roads. Chicago wrongful death lawyers negotiate with the insurance companies to get them to pay out the compensation their client deserves for damages, including medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other costs. When you have lost a loved one in a car accident, don’t fight alone. Call Mike Agruss Law now to schedule your consultation with a wrongful death lawyer to talk about your case.

Cause of Death: Medical Malpractice

Losing a loved one while they are in the care of professionals that they trusted is an unbearable act of betrayal. Medical malpractice occurs when a medical professional deviates from the standard of care in their profession, and that deviation or act of negligence causes injury to the patient. In some cases, the negligence is so egregious that someone dies as a direct result of the carelessness or even criminal intent of the healthcare professional. Examples include when a healthcare professional fails to diagnose an illness that eventually causes death, anesthesia error, improper medication dosage, surgical errors, childbirth errors, and others.

How much will it cost to hire an experienced attorney?

Most injury attorneys who practice personal injury law work on a contingency fee basis, which means if they do not get paid unless they win for their clients. If you receive the settlement that you deserve, then your attorney would take a certain percentage out of your settlement to cover legal fees. Furthermore, Mike Agruss Law offers a free consultation with the loved ones of the fatally injured victim to review your case.

What is the duty of care?

A duty of care is a legal obligation for an individual or entity to adhere to a standard of reasonable care and to use caution when performing any activity that could be harmful to others, whether it’s driving a car or performing the surgery.

A breach of duty occurs when a person or entity with a duty of care for another person or entity fails to meet that standard. Breaching a duty of care makes that person or entity liable for negligence in a personal injury case as well as in an Illinois wrongful death claim. Nursing homes accept a certain level of responsibility when admitting residents to their assisted living facilities that regulatory agencies, loved ones, and residents expect them to adhere to.

Fair Compensation for an Illinois Wrongful Death

In civil law, there are different types of damages: compensatory and punitive damages.

Compensatory Damages

Compensatory damages go to a plaintiff who is entitled to compensation after suffering a personal injury or a loss. There are two types of compensatory damages: economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages include costs related to a personal injury, such as medical expenses, lost wages, and property damage in the case of a car accident, for example. Non-economic damages include pain and suffering, loss of companionship, and even the loss of enjoyment of life. 

These are damages that are usually associated with personal injury cases. You will need to speak to your attorney about recovering losses related to the care and injury of your loved one before their untimely death. Call now to schedule a free consultation with an Illinois wrongful death lawyer to learn more about what kinds of compensatory damages you may be entitled to, including but not limited to:

  • Medical treatment that your loved one receipt before their untimely death
  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Lost income that they would’ve earned had they not died

Punitive Damages

In a wrongful death claim, the court can order award punitive damages to the surviving family members to punish a defendant for their willful harm, wanton negligence, and intentional tort.

How Do I Know If I Have A Wrongful Death Case?

If a loved one has lost their life due to another person’s negligence or intentional tort and you have been directly impacted by their death, you should speak to an attorney. A wrongful death lawyer can work with experts to determine the cause of death and guide you through the phases of your wrongful death suit.

Why Mike Agruss Law

All clients deserve to be treated with respect and with consummate professionalism. Our Chicago wrongful death lawyers understand that legal issues are the last thing you need while grieving the loss of a loved one. Whether you lost a loved one to a car crash, product liability claim, or any type of claim, we understand that people come to us during one of the most difficult times in their lives. One of the strengths of our practices is that we get to know all of our Chicago clients very well. We communicate regularly with them so that they know that they continue to be a priority to us.

You can sue for the loss of love, companionship, and support that the death caused. You can also sue for the suffering that the decedent experienced before their death. The attorneys at Mike Agruss Law can create a strong legal strategy and get you the damages that you’re entitled to. 

Mike Agruss Law represents families who have lost their loved ones due to another’s negligence, criminal intent, or abuse. We stand firm in the belief that families deserve compassion after experiencing the trauma of loss. You deserve answers and just compensation for the damages you have suffered. Give us a call today to schedule your free consultation.

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Submitted Comments

1 year ago
wrongful death of BOTH my SONS, age 33 on both of them, at time of death. I am a MADD MOTHER!!!!!