Grieving the death of a family member is a painful experience. Discovering that the death was a result of the negligence of another party can be devastating and overwhelming. Bloomington wrongful death attorney James P. Ginzkey can assist you in obtaining fair compensation for the negligent death of your loved one.
In Illinois, if someone’s death results from the misconduct of another, there are generally two types of recovery that can be sought by the victim’s family. Monetary recovery can be claimed pursuant to both the Illinois Survival Act (755 ILCS 5/27-6) and the Illinois Wrongful Death Act (740 ILCS 1810/7).
In a wrongful death action where the decedent is survived by a spouse or children, Illinois law presumes that the survivors have suffered substantial loss by reason of the death. Similarly, if the wrongful death is that of a child, the law presumes that the surviving parents have suffered substantial loss by reason of the child’s death. In either case, the survivors’ “pecuniary loss” includes the loss of money, benefits, goods, services and society. In measuring the survivors’ loss of society, Illinois law defines the term “society” to mean the mutual benefits that each family member receives from the other’s continued existence, including love, affection, care, attention, companionship, comfort, guidance and protection.
The following elements are considered in a wrongful death case:
- What money, benefits, goods and services the decedent customarily contributed in the past;
- What money, benefits, good and services the decedent was likely to have contributed in the future;
- Decedent’s age;
- Decedent’s sex;
- Decedent’s health;
- Decedent’s physical and mental characteristics;
- Decedent’s habits of industry, sobriety and thrift;
- Decedent’s occupational abilities;
- The grief, sorrow and mental suffering of the surviving next-of-kin; and
- The relationship between the next of kin and the decedent.
In addition to the recovery made by the surviving next-of-kin for the wrongful death of their family member, the Estate of the decedent can make a separate recovery for the conscious pain and suffering experienced by the decedent before death. This recovery is provided under the Illinois Survival Act (755 ILCS 5/27-6). In a survival action, the decedent’s Estate can recover for the following elements of damages:
- The conscious pain and suffering of the decedent, which includes recovery for lost enjoyment of life;
- The reasonable expense of necessary medical care and treatment; and
- Funeral and burial expenses.