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b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_1144538219-2.jpgThe loss of a loved one can be a difficult situation to deal with, whether the person lived a full life and passed away at an advanced age or died unexpectedly. However, when a person is killed because of someone else's negligence or wrongful conduct, family members may struggle to address their loss and move forward with their lives. These situations can be especially difficult if the untimely loss of a loved one led to financial problems due to the loss of income the person would have earned, large medical bills for treatment they received prior to their death, or other factors.

Fortunately, Illinois law allows surviving family members to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the party or parties who were responsible for a person's death. This type of lawsuit can help bring some sense of justice and provide compensation for the losses a family has suffered. In these situations, it is essential to understand the types of damages that family members may be able to recover. By working with an experienced attorney, survivors can take steps to ensure that they receive adequate compensation for their losses. The damages that family members may be able to receive include:

Economic Damages

Survivors may receive compensation for the financial losses they have suffered due to their loved one's wrongful death. These damages may help offset some of the costs resulting from the loss. They may include the loss of income and financial support that the deceased person would have provided for their family, the loss of benefits or inheritances, and expenses related to a person's burial or funeral. A jury may consider the deceased person's income, age, occupation, and life expectancy when awarding economic damages.


rockford wrongful death lawyerWhen a person dies unexpectedly, their family members may struggle financially while also dealing with grief and emotional trauma. Picking up the pieces after the loss of a loved one can be especially difficult when the person’s death was caused by someone else’s negligence. In these situations, a family may be able to pursue a wrongful death claim against the person or parties who were responsible. While the damages available in these cases may provide compensation for the financial losses a family has experienced, they may also address the ways family members have been personally affected. By understanding how loss of companionship is addressed in these cases, a family can make sure they will be able to receive the compensation they deserve.

What Is Loss of Companionship?

A wrongful death case will often focus on “pecuniary” losses. These are also known as economic damages, and they will address the ways a family has been affected financially by a person’s death. Family members may be compensated for the loss of the income that their loved one would have earned, as well as other financial benefits they would have provided. In addition to these pecuniary losses, family members may also be compensated for non-economic damages, including their loss of a relationship with their loved one.

Loss of companionship, which may also be referred to as loss of consortium or loss of society, addresses the harm suffered by family members because they no longer have their loved one in their lives. A person’s spouse and children will suffer from the loss of a loving relationship in which the person would have provided them with comfort, affection, and attention. Children will not be able to receive guidance, instruction, and protection from a parent who was killed. A spouse will be deprived of partnership and sexual intimacy. A family may also experience a loss of services that their loved one would have provided, such as caring for children, providing transportation, assistance with education and activities, and performing work around the home.


Winnebago County wrongful death attorneysDrunk driving takes the lives of over 10,000 Americans each year. If your loved one was killed in a car accident involving a driver under the influence of alcohol, you may be interested in learning about your legal options. While no legal remedy can ever truly make up for your tragic loss, a wrongful death claim may enable you to recover compensation for the financial harm caused by your loved one’s death.

Compensation in a Wrongful Death Claim

Drunk drivers who cause fatal auto accidents can face significant criminal consequences. Surviving loved ones of those killed in drunk driving accidents also have the option of bringing a civil claim against the drunk driver. Through a wrongful death claim, you may be able to receive financial compensation for:

  • The loss of your loved one’s financial support
  • The loss of your loved one’s household services, including homemaking and caring for children
  • The medical bills incurred between your loved one’s accident and his or her death
  • The loss of your loved one’s companionship
  • The loss of parental guidance experienced by minor children of the deceased person
  • Mental suffering and grief experienced by surviving family members
  • Funeral and burial expenses

Wrongful death claims involving fatal drunk driving accidents may also include an award of punitive damages. Unlike damages intended to compensate a victim’s family for financial losses, punitive damages are intended to penalize the drunk driver for his or her actions.


Winnebago County wrongful death lawyersLosing a spouse, parent, child, or sibling is tragic regardless of the circumstances. However, when a person’s death is caused by the reckless or malicious actions of another party, the loss is even more heartbreaking. If you have lost a loved one in an incident involving drunk driving, medical malpractice, a defective product, nursing home neglect, or another situation involving negligence or wrongdoing, you may wonder what your legal options are. In many cases, a wrongful death claim can help hold the at-fault party accountable for the death while also recovering compensation for the losses incurred by the death.

Understanding Illinois Wrongful Death Laws

In Illinois, a wrongful death is one that is caused by wrongful act, neglect, or default. A wrongful death claim is a civil claim filed by the personal representative of the deceased person. This is often the deceased person’s spouse, parent, or adult child. Wrongful death claims can help families collect compensation for a death which was caused by intentional acts or acts of negligence. Damages are paid to the surviving spouse and next of kin. The statute of limitations for Illinois wrongful death claims is typically two years from the date of the death. However, this limit may be extended in some situations.

Types of Damages Available for a Wrongful Death

There is no amount of money that could ever truly compensation someone for the loss of his or her loved one. However, a wrongful death claim can help a grieving family reduce the financial burden caused by the death. Depending on your particular situation, you may be entitled to compensation for:


Rockford wrongful death lawyersDriving under the influence of alcohol is a major problem in the U.S., as well as throughout the world. More than 10,000 people lost their lives in drunk driving accidents in the United States in 2018 alone. It is estimated that alcohol impairment is a contributing factor in nearly a third of all U.S. fatal auto accidents. Despite strict laws regulating alcohol use behind the wheel and numerous public campaigns educating drivers about the risks of driving while intoxicated, drunk driving accidents continue to occur. If you have lost a loved one in a drunk driving accident, you may be left in complete financial ruin. Although no amount of money could make up for your loss, you may be able to receive financial relief through a wrongful death lawsuit.

Illinois Laws Regarding Wrongful Death   

According to the Illinois Wrongful Death Act, a wrongful death is defined as a death caused by “a wrongful act, neglect or default.” When someone is killed in a wrongful death accident, a representative of the deceased person, often a spouse or other relative, may bring a wrongful death claim against the responsible party. Through this claim, the surviving loved ones of the deceased person may be able to receive compensation for their losses.

Many wrongful death and personal injury claims are based upon the defendant’s alleged negligence. This means that in order for a claimant to receive compensation, the claimant and his or her attorney must prove that the defendant’s negligent actions caused the injury or death. However, when a claim involves a crime such as driving under the influence or reckless driving, the criteria for proving the defendant’s fault is different. Individuals who cause others to be harmed or killed as a result of unlawful activities may be considered “negligent per se,” which means that a presumption of negligence is created.

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