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Can I Sue on Behalf of My Spouse Who Was Killed in an Accident?

 Posted on August 04, 2022 in Personal Injury

Joliet wrongful death attorneyThe death of a loved one is a terrible shock. In addition to the grief survivors suffer, plans for the future must be completely recalibrated; for example, when the deceased individual is the primary breadwinner for a family, children are deprived both of a parent and that parent’s crucial financial support. In cases like these, a wrongful death lawsuit can be a lifeline for suffering families. If you recently lost a loved one and are wondering whether you can take legal action, read on. 

Who Can Bring a Wrongful Death Lawsuit? 

Illinois law allows a person’s next of kin to recover damages for wrongful death. “Next of kin” is generally the decedent’s spouse and children. If the decedent is not married, children and sometimes even parents can file a lawsuit. For example, if an infant is killed during childbirth because of a medical mistake, the parents may be able to sue the doctor responsible for the error. 

If the person who died is not married and has no children, the people who may be considered “next of kin” may broaden to apply to other relatives like grandchildren or grandparents. Friends and fiancés are generally not considered next of kin.

What Damages Can a Wrongful Death Action Recover? 

Depending on the circumstances of the death, a wrongful death lawsuit can be fairly broad in its application. Compensation may be received for: 

  • Pain and suffering
  • Medical bills 
  • Loss of normal life
  • Lost wages
  • Funeral expenses 
  • Loss of consortium (love and companionship)

Unlike some other states, Illinois does not allow punitive damages for wrongful death lawsuits without “very strong equitable reasons.” This usually means “when no other remedy is available.” For example, if a doctor committed a case of medical malpractice that resulted in an infant’s death and the infant’s parents were awarded three million dollars in damages, further punitive damages would almost certainly not be awarded even if the doctor caused the infant’s death through gross misconduct. 

Meet with a Joliet, IL Wrongful Death Lawyer

When someone is killed through negligence or malicious action, the Will County wrongful death attorneys at McNamara Phelan McSteen, LLC believe that person’s family deserves to hold the perpetrator accountable. We provide each case with a rigorous investigation and a determined resolve to succeed. Call us today at 815-727-0100 to schedule a free case review and learn whether pursuing a wrongful death lawsuit may be an option for you. We have a clear track record of successful case results and are eager to put our experience to work for you. 




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