By Adam B. Lawler | April 20, 2016

Common Questions Regarding a Southern Illinois Wrongful Death

Common Questions Regarding a Southern Illinois Wrongful Death Wrongful Death Statute The Illinois statute regarding wrongful death[1] provides: “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…” What is a Wrongful Death? In personal injury cases that result in death, the family members and loved ones of the decedent often wonder if they can file a lawsuit. These types of cases are known as wrongful death lawsuits, and they are a common kind of personal injury case.  After facing the death of a loved one, it can be difficult to know where to begin.  There are questions common to many wrongful death cases including:
  • What is wrongful death?
Wrongful death is the legal term that describes the death of someone that results from someone else’s wrongdoing, negligence, or intentional action. In a wrongful death case, the person who has died can obviously not file a lawsuit him or herself. Instead, a court appointed administrator, usually that person’s spouse, parents, children, or even other family members can file a lawsuit for wrongful death.
  • Is a wrongful death claim the same as murder?
It can be easy to confuse wrongful death lawsuits with murder, or other types of crimes because both types of situations involve someone dying as a result of someone else’s actions. When you are talking about a wrongful death claim, it is a civil lawsuit, not a criminal case. Even though the person responsible for the death of someone might be criminally liable for the actions that caused the death, a wrongful death case is not the same thing as a criminal charge. Wrongful death is a civil wrong, known as a tort, that is prosecuted in a civil lawsuit separate and apart from a criminal lawsuit.  As a result, a person can be found innocent in a criminal proceeding and still be liable for wrongful death.
  • What are damages in a wrongful death lawsuit?
In any civil lawsuit, the person filing the lawsuit is asking a court to order the wrongdoer to pay compensation for the damage the wrongdoer caused. In wrongful death cases, these damages can arise for many reasons. In addition to economic damages, wrongful death cases can also involve damages for pain and suffering suffered by the deceased before death, grief, loss of companionship or affection, and other items.
  • How do I win a wrongful death lawsuit?
There is no single way to answer this type of question. Any wrongful death lawsuit must be filed in accordance with Illinois laws. There are many procedural and substantive rules that apply to these kinds of cases, and only an experienced Southern Illinois wrongful death lawyer can give you advice.  To be successful with a wrongful death claim it is necessary to demonstrate the following:
  • The loved one's death was caused by the defendant or that the defendant's actions or lack of action contributed to the death.
  • The death occurred as a direct result of the defendant's negligence or wrongdoing.
  • The decedent's death affected family members, survivors or dependents financially.
  • The loved one's death resulted in expenses or monetary damages.
Wrongful Death Attorneys If a loved one was killed as a result of the actions of another person or business entity, it is important to speak to a Southern Illinois wrongful death attorney to discuss the complex legal issues that apply to these types of cases.  Speak to the attorneys at the Lawler Brown Law Firm today to discuss your situation. Call today for a free consultation at 618-993-2222. References: [1]

Adam B. Lawler

Attorney at Law / Partner

Adam Lawler is the founder of Lawler Brown. Adam is a 2004 graduate of Saint Louis University School of Law. Adam worked for a local firm until founding the Lawler Brown in 2009. Adam’s practice areas focus in Personal Injury, Business, Real Estate, Probate/Trust/Estate Administration and general litigation.

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