Wrongful Death Damages - Aurora, IL
Wrongful death cases are cases where a person's carelessness has resulted in the death of another. In these cases, the surviving family members can bring a pair of closely-related legal claims against the person or entity that caused the death.
First, family members can recover for their loss of companionship and support under the Wrongful Death Act. Second, the victim's estate can bring a survival action, which allows the estate to sue for the harm suffered by the decedent before his death. An example of a survival action is when a man is hit by a car and endures conscious pain and suffering before his death at a hospital six hours later. While no amount of monetary damages can fully compensate a family for a lost loved one, these statutory causes of action can bring some measure of justice to a family who has lost a loved one. The available damages can be divided into two categories, economic damages and “loss of society”.
The most easily understood type of damages available in lawsuits related to a wrongful death are the economic ones. Courts allow the families of victims to recover for a wide array of the different economic harms they suffered as a result of the death. Some of these harms are very closely tied to the death. Common examples of economic damages are the victim's pre-decease medical bills or the cost of funeral and burial expenses. Furthermore, if the decedent worked outside of the home, then the family can recover for the lost wages that the decedent would have earned but for his death. Similarly, if the person worked in the home, the cost of those services is also available as part of the recoverable damages. However, not all damages are based on economic losses.
Loss of Society
Other damages are based on the loss of companionship and guidance. For example, a child who loses a mother will not have someone to lean on or talk to. A widow who loses her husband no longer has someone to take walks with. A father who loses a son no longer has a fishing partner.
In rare cases, punitive damages may also be available. These damages differ from the other types of damages because they are not designed to compensate the victims for a loss. Instead, they are designed to punish the defendant. Punitive damages are recoverable when defendants act with a conscious disregard for the safety of others.
If you have recently lost a loved one as a result of another person's careless actions, contact a DuPage County wrongful death attorney at Woodruff Johnson & Palermo today to ensure that the person responsible is held accountable for their behavior.