There is nothing that can prepare a family for the loss of a loved one, particularly when that loss is a wrongful death caused by the negligence of others and could have been prevented. No amount of money can properly compensate for the loss of a loved one, but a successful legal claim filed by experienced personal injury attorneys can obtain wrongful death damages, which help to provide financial relief to survivors.
When someone is killed due to the neglectful, reckless, or malicious acts of another person, the family and loved ones left behind are often entitled to receive wrongful death damages from the responsible and liable parties. Financial compensation can never replace what was lost and what will never be after the death of a loved one. A wrongful death claim is designed to help alleviate financial burdens at the time of the death and going forward.
If you and your family have been forced into the tragic position of dealing with the wrongful death of a loved one, the team of respected attorneys at Cooney & Conway have the compassion and experience to help make sure you receive the damages and compensation you deserve. For any questions or to discuss a potential wrongful death claim with a qualified legal professional, call toll free 800-322-5573 to speak to a helpful and knowledgeable representative. You can also fill out the Case Evaluation contact information form located on this page and we will promptly respond to your inquiry.
3 Types of Wrongful Death Damages
A wrongful death claim can seek a wide range of compensation, depending on present and future financial loss the death caused, as well as the pain and suffering inflicted, and the determination of punishment for those responsible. Most wrongful death damages fit into one of three categories – Economic, Noneconomic and Punitive.
1. Economic Damages
The sudden death of a loved one causes a myriad of immediate financial issues for the remaining family members, including possible medical and funeral costs, in addition to the loss of income at the time of the person’s death and going forward.
Economic wrongful death damages can come in many forms for a large variety of reasons, including:
- Medical expenses associated with the injuries, illness, and death of the victim
- Funeral, burial, and other expenses related to victim’s final resting place, including casket, headstone, and funeral home viewing
- Lost income from expected future earnings of the victim, considering the decedent’s annual wages and benefits, their lifestyle before death, and life expectancy
- Pension plans and other benefits due the victim
- The decedent’s inheritance
2. Non-Economic Damages
A wrongful death claim can also seek non-economic damages from the responsible or liable parties. These are compensation for the intangible elements of losing a loved one, such as the pain and suffering endured by the victim leading up to their death, and the pain, discomfort, and mental anguish suffered by the family of the deceased.
These types of claims are often considerably more difficult to attach a dollar amount. Experienced personal injury and wrongful death attorneys from Cooney & Conway can work with you to sort out the complicated maze of litigation and settlement details.
Among the types of non-economic wrongful death damages families may seek include:
- Grief, sorrow, and mental anguish inflicted on the family and loved ones of the decedent, generally described as pain and suffering
- Loss of support, protection and parenting for the surviving family members
- Loss of consortium, love and companionship taken by the negligent or malicious act of another
3. Punitive Damages
Punitive damages include awards that are intended to punish or deter the defendant for particularly egregious, malicious, or severe conduct. Many states restrict the amounts of punitive damages that can be awarded, and some states do not allow for such damages at all in wrongful death actions, including Illinois.
Who Can Recover a Wrongful Death Settlement?
Family members who have lost a loved one due to a devastating wrongful death incident or accident understandably want justice to be served in the form of financial recovery and punitive damages. The law entitles the victim’s closest relatives to be eligible to receive compensation from the responsible parties.
- Spouse: The spouse of a wrongful death victim is most commonly the plaintiff in wrongful death damage claims. Spouses have the closest relationship with the deceased both emotionally and financially, and therefore are the most qualified to receive wrongful death settlements for loss of income, benefits, and companionship.
- Parents: While there is no cutoff age for parents to be a part of a wrongful death lawsuit, it most commonly occurs after the death of a minor or infant. Damages in these cases may include compensation for lost earning potential, as well as considerable grief from the death of a young person. Parents may also seek a legal claim if the deceased had a spouse, even if the victim was a fully-grown adult.
- Children: Depending on the age of the child, any damages awarded may be held by a guardian until the child is legally old enough to claim it. Adult children may also recover damages from a wrongful death settlement, most commonly in cases when the death was caused by nursing home negligence or other forms of medical malpractice.
Unmarried partners may not be able to recover settlement funds. This encompasses all levels of relationships, from a new dating couple to a monogamous partnership that has lasted years or decades. Family members may not sue each other over a wrongful death damage settlement due to the overlapping of financial interests.
Contact Experienced Wrongful Death Attorneys
If a loved one has been killed because of the negligence of others, you and your family may be due wrongful death damages. Call Cooney & Conway toll free at 800-322-5573 and speak with a knowledgeable representative about the options for you and your family during this most tragic time. Or you can simply fill out the Case Evaluation form on this page and we will respond shortly.