Riding in a car is statistically one of the most dangerous things the average person does on a daily basis. Fatal crashes caused by distracted driving, intoxicated driving, or simply inattention, are shockingly common. These accidents leave a trail of devastation in their wake and change families’ lives forever.
If you lost a loved one in a fatal car accident, you may have questions about your legal options. Can you hold the at-fault driver accountable? Will insurance pay for medical and funeral bills? How will you make ends meet without your loved one’s financial support? Is taking legal action worth it? Read on to learn more.
What is a Wrongful Death Claim?
When someone dies in a preventable accident, the surviving family often wants answers. They want to know who was responsible for the crash and they want that person to be held accountable. A wrongful death claim is a civil claim used to pursue monetary damages. Illinois law defines wrongful death as a death caused by another party’s negligent or wrongful actions. Negligent driving may include anything from speeding or failure to yield to more egregious actions like drunk driving. The at-fault party could also be a non-individual such as a car parts manufacturer that created a defective auto part.
Who Can Bring a Wrongful Death Claim?
In Illinois, the only individual who can file a wrongful death claim is the deceased person’s “personal representative,” also called the executor of the estate. The deceased person may have already appointed an executor in his or her estate plans. If not, the court may appoint an individual to act as the personal representative.
What is the Benefit of Filing a Wrongful Death Claim?
You may wonder if filing a wrongful death claim is worth the trouble. After all, no legal action can bring back your loved one. However, there are many personal and financial benefits associated with wrongful death claims, including:
Closure – Many people find that taking legal action on behalf of their deceased loved one brings them a sense of justice and closure.
Holding the at-fault party liable – When a party’s carelessness or selfish decision costs another person his or her life, they should be held accountable. A wrongful death claim allows the victim’s representative to hold the at-fault party responsible for the devastation they have caused.
Recovering damages – Money cannot make up for the loss of human life. However, losing a loved one in a fatal car accident often has a profound financial impact. A wrongful death claim can help a family recover compensation for medical bills, funeral expenses, lost income, and more.
Contact an Orland Park Wrongful Death Lawyer
If you lost a loved one in a fatal accident, contact the Cook County car accident attorneys at Schwartz Injury Law for help. We can explain all of your legal options to you and help you decide if filing a wrongful death claim is the right step. If you do decide to take legal action we will guide you through every step of the process. Call 708-888-2160 for a free consultation.