A loved one's death is difficult under any circumstance. But a fatal act of negligence or recklessness only compounds that grief. If your loved one died due to someone else's careless actions, the Illinois Wrongful Death Act might entitle you to a settlement. Our Wheaton wrongful death lawyers can advise you on your legal rights and what options you may have to pursue compensation.
We know that discussing money after a loved one's wrongful death can be uncomfortable. The emotional and economic losses seem insurmountable right now. No amount of money can bring your loved one back, but a settlement can provide a stable future.
Since 2009, our attorneys have helped other grieving families throughout DuPage County. Now, we are ready to help you hold the responsible party accountable. If you lost a loved one and someone else caused the accident, call Zayed Law Offices' Wheaton location today.
About Zayed Law Offices
We built our record of success on the foundation of relentlessly seeking justice for our clients. Along with decades of experience, the team at Zayed Law Offices has been rated by Super Lawyers and inducted into the Million Dollar Advocates Forum. Above all else, we are trial lawyers. Though we focus on personal injury cases, we are not afraid to go beyond the negotiation table and straight to court.
Our case results do not guarantee an outcome in your claim, but they reflect the trend of outcomes that define our firm's reputation.
Here are just a few of our recent awards:
- $1.77 million awarded after a commercial vehicle accident
- $1.30 million awarded in a wrongful death case
- $1 million awarded after a truck accident
- $950,000 awarded in a medical malpractice suit
Wrongful Death Definition: Learn if you may have a case
The Illinois Wrongful Death Act states that a surviving spouse or next of kin can pursue a claim if their loved one died due to a “wrongful act, neglect or default.” To put it another way, if the deceased had survived their accident, the law would entitle them to a personal injury claim.
The only way to know if you have a valid legal case is to speak with an attorney, like those at Zayed Law Offices. Your perception of your loved one's death—or what others reported—and what happened from a legal standpoint may differ. Numerous state and federal laws keep us all safe when people obey them. These laws hold negligent individuals, businesses, hospitals, and municipalities accountable for preventable fatal accidents.
Liability in a Wheaton Wrongful Death Case
“Who is responsible for a wrongful death?” is a question our attorneys often hear. There is no simple answer, as each case is different. Establishing liability is relatively easy in some accidents, such as those involving a drunk driver. Yet, in other situations, we may need to perform an investigation. And, more than one party may be responsible for your loved one's death.
Our lawyers can establish liability after a careful review of your case. When needed, we consult with other professionals like medical and occupational experts to get answers and uncover evidence.
If you doubt liability for your loved one's death, give us a call. We offer free, no-obligation consultations.
Some of the more common wrongful death cases we see include motor vehicle accidents, medical malpractice, dog attacks, premises liability, and nursing home abuse and neglect.
MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENTS
DuPage County records and publishes data for local motor vehicle accidents. Approximately 45 to 50 people lose their lives on Wheaton area roads each year. These fatalities include motor vehicle operators, occupants, and pedestrians.
Anyone who gets behind the wheel must take the safety of others into account and obey all traffic laws.
The law may entitle you to compensation if your loved one died after a crash that involved someone who drove while:
- Under the influence of illicit, prescription, or OTC drugs
- Distracted by their cell phone or other devices
- Drowsy or sleep-deprived
- Speeding over the posted limit or too fast for weather conditions
- Tailgating (not allowing enough space between cars)
When necessary, we can recreate an accident scene. We can also take legal action to obtain security or traffic cam footage.
If your loved one died while receiving medical care, you might struggle to get answers. The hospital or clinic may lead you to believe that your loved one died due to natural causes when it was a preventable accident.
When a doctor treats their patients, they must maintain a standard of care. When determining a standard of care, the law asks, “How would another doctor with similar qualifications and experience behave in that same situation?”
Medical malpractice occurs when care falls below this threshold. Some examples of medical malpractice include:
- A failure to diagnose or wrong diagnosis. Any misdiagnosis can postpone treatment and cause a condition to worsen.
- Medication mistakes. Too much medication can result in a fatal overdose, while too little can cause a disease to progress.
- Surgical errors. Fatal mistakes include an anesthesia error or cutting a healthy organ.
- Hospital-acquired infections (HAIs). According to the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, HAIs affect one out of every 25 hospitalized patients. Some of these infections are antibiotic-resistant and difficult to treat.
- Birth injuries. The misuse of forceps, a lack of oxygen, and a failure to administer an emergency C-section are potentially fatal birth injuries.
We could represent you if your loved one died after treatment at any local medical facility, including Marianjoy Rehab Center, Northwestern Medicine Pediatrics, and Northwestern Medicine Immediate Care.
Any dog—regardless of breed, size, or age—is capable of biting or attacking. Illinois is one of the top 10 states for reported dog bites, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Anyone can be a victim of a fatal dog attack, but young children are especially vulnerable due to their size.
The City of Wheaton Ordinance, § 14-96, requires dog owners to always keep their pets under control. Dogs within the city limits must be on a leash or “securely enclosed, confined, or restrained.” Under most circumstances, the law holds a dog owner responsible for their pet's behavior.
The law requires property owners to keep their buildings and grounds in good repair. This responsibility extends to homeowners, municipalities, and business owners.
A common premises liability accident is a slip and fall, in which the victim loses their footing on a slippery floor, icy sidewalk, cluttered walkway, or other hazards.
Other fatal accidents can result from:
- Poor maintenance of elevators and escalators
- Inadequate security personnel
- Faulty appliances or HVAC systems
- A lack of guard rails, fences, or other crowd control measures
Our attorneys can represent you for premises liability cases that involve a municipality, a stadium such as King Arena, a restaurant, or private property.
NURSING HOME ABUSE AND NEGLECT
When families make the difficult decision to place their loved ones in a nursing home, they expect competent and compassionate care. Unfortunately, not all senior living facilities live up to their promises.
Nursing home abuse is not always easy to spot. Staff may attempt to cover up fatal abuse or neglect and pass off your loved one's death as a natural occurrence.
If you suspect nursing home abuse or neglect, contact our office immediately. We can take legal action to obtain key evidence before it is destroyed or hidden by unscrupulous staff members. Our lawyers can take on wrongful death claims against any Wheaton area nursing home.
Wheaton Wrongful Death Cases: How we calculate a fair settlement
Surviving family members often ask us how much the average wrongful death settlement is. No average or standard payout exists because each accident and family is unique.
When our Wheaton wrongful death lawyers calculate a settlement, we account for:
- Reasonable funeral, cremation, and burial costs
- Any medical expenses the deceased incurred due to their fatal injuries
- The pain and suffering the deceased experienced before their death
- Any income the deceased would have earned throughout their remaining working years
- Loss of guidance for any minor children
- Loss of companionship for the surviving spouse
- The cost of domestic tasks that the deceased was responsible for, such as childcare, housekeeping, and lawn care
At Zayed Law Offices, our goal is to maximize your wrongful death settlement. You have one opportunity to hold the responsible party accountable for your loved one's death. An inadequate settlement could leave you with debt and an uncertain future.
Wheaton Wrongful Death FAQs
Below are some of the most commonly asked questions we receive about wrongful death claims. While this general information may be helpful to you, know that each case is unique. We can answer specific questions during your free consultation.
WHO CAN FILE A WRONGFUL DEATH LAWSUIT IN ILLINOIS?
According to the Illinois Wrongful Death act, a settlement benefit the deceased's “surviving spouse and next of kin.” Typically, the surviving spouse and any children can file a claim. If the deceased was unmarried and did not have children, eligibility may extend to their parents or other estate representative.
Each case and family is different. If you have any questions about your eligibility to file a wrongful death claim, please call our office.
HOW LONG DO YOU HAVE TO FILE A WHEATON WRONGFUL DEATH CLAIM?
According to 740 ILCS 180/2, you may have as little as two years after your loved one's death to take legal action. Some situations may allow for a longer period. For example, if the next of kin was a minor or the state convicted the defendant of homicide.
However, there is no reason to push the limits of these timeframes. It is easier to track down witnesses and obtain evidence right away. The sooner you contact us, the sooner we can build a strong case for you.
Remember, you do not have to have all the answers when you call us. Part of what we do, when necessary, is investigate accidents. Our attorneys work on your behalf and for your best interests.
CAN YOU FILE A WRONGFUL DEATH CLAIM EVEN IF THE STATE DOES NOT PRESS CRIMINAL CHARGES?
Yes, because you file a wrongful death claim in civil court. These proceedings are separate from any criminal charges the state could file against the negligent party.
CAN PARENTS PURSUE A WRONGFUL DEATH SETTLEMENT FOR THEIR UNBORN CHILD?
Under certain circumstances, parents may file a wrongful death claim after the death of their unborn child. These cases can be more complex, so please contact our office to discuss your situation. Our free consultations are confidential, and you are never under any obligation to take legal action.
DO YOU HAVE TO GO TO COURT TO WIN A WRONGFUL DEATH CLAIM?
Our lawyers are skilled negotiators. We have secured many wrongful death settlements without a trial.
That said, we prepare each case as if it will go to court. Why? Because the last thing you want is a settlement that falls short of what the law entitles you to. Once you accept a payout, you typically cannot pursue any more money in the future. Our goal is to maximize your compensation so that you can move forward to a secure future.
If we believe that putting your case in front of a judge or jury is an option, we will let you know. We will help you weigh the pros and cons of a trial, but the choice is yours to make.
Get Answers from a Wheaton Wrongful Death Lawyer
Our compassionate and experienced attorneys can help you understand your legal rights. While each wrongful death claim is different, our case results demonstrate our commitment and past success.
We know you are under tremendous stress right now. One of the most challenging parts of making a wrongful death claim is to pick up the phone and call an attorney. Do not lose the opportunity to secure your family's future. Contact Zayed Law Offices at (630) 690-1919 for your free case evaluation today.
Wheaton Personal Injury LawyerAddress: 1761 S Naperville Road Suite 202,
Wheaton, IL 60189