January 9, 2020
Compensation After a Fatal Car Accident in Illinois
Posted in: Car Accidents
Losing a loved one is one of the most devastating experiences you will ever go through. If you have lost a loved one in a car accident, you not only have to deal with unimaginable grief and loss but also may face unexpected funeral and medical expenses and the loss of income that your family member would have earned if the accident had not occurred.
Filing a claim against those responsible, whether it is a car manufacturer, mechanic, or driver can help you recover from some of these losses and make sure anyone who was responsible for the accident is held accountable. Staver Accident Lawyers, P.C. have the experience necessary to help you successfully recover all the compensation you are legally entitled to after a fatal car accident in Illinois. Contact our office at (217) 528-9955 for a free consultation.
Fatal Car Accident Cases are Complex
To recover compensation in a car accident case, you must prove both liability and damages. Fatal accidents can be complicated because your loved one is not here to tell their side of the story. That’s why it is so important to have an experienced legal team on your side to examine all the evidence and prove your case. To file a claim on behalf of your loved one, you must also be legally entitled to file the claim based on your relationship with the deceased, or in legal terms, you must have “standing” to file the lawsuit.
Liability in Fatal Car Accident Cases
The first thing that must be proven in any car accident case is liability (or who was at fault). Police often make a determination based on evidence found at the scene of the accident. Sometimes it is difficult to tell who was at fault for the accident if there are conflicting witness accounts. This is common, for example, in intersection accident cases when more than one driver claims they had the right-of-way.
Our attorneys can carefully analyze evidence and consult expert witnesses such as accident reconstruction experts to better understand the facts that support your case. Many people who are fault for an accident will claim that they were not at fault and evade questions by law enforcement to avoid being sued, losing their insurance or even being charged with a crime. An expert can use specialized software to reconstruct the accident to help prove what really happened.
Some accidents are caused by mechanical failures that are a result of flaws in the design or manufacture of a vehicle. In cases caused by product or design flaws, the manufacturer and dealership may be named as defendants in the lawsuit.
Even if your loved one was driving and is determined to be partially at fault for an accident, you may still be able to file a claim for compensation. However, the amount may be reduced by the percentage they were at fault. This is known as comparative fault under Illinois laws. Many accidents involve the fault of more than one individual.
Damages in Fatal Car Accident Cases
The second part of a car accident is proving damages. In cases that involve a fatal car accident in Illinois, close relatives may claim damages that the deceased could have requested themselves if they had survived the accident. This includes compensation for pain and suffering and punitive damages. Relatives and spouses may also request compensation for the loss of companionship and economic losses based on the income that the deceased could have earned over their lifetime.
Expert witnesses can be useful when it comes to economic losses. A forensic economic expert may testify about how much money the person who has passed away would have earned over their lifetime based on their life expectancy, education, background, training, and salary at the time of the accident.
Punitive damages may be available in serious accidents that were caused intentionally or with reckless disregard for human life. For example, if the person who is at fault was under the influence of drugs or alcohol or sending text messages at the time the accident occurred, it is appropriate to request punitive damages to punish the at-fault driver and discourage others from repeating similar conduct.
Many people wonder how much a case is worth. In a fatal car accident case, many of the damages are based on the economic losses a family will suffer in the future, loss of companionship, and punitive damages when appropriate. It is impossible to place a value on human life, but our firm is prepared to seek justice for your family to get as much compensation as possible in your case.
Standing to Sue in Wrongful Death Cases
Not just anyone can sue on behalf of a deceased person. Only close relatives and the personal representative of the estate can file a lawsuit. In some cases, such as when the deceased person has no close relatives or when they have acted as a parent figure to minor or adult children, there are exceptions. If you have any question about your right to sue after a fatal car accident, contact a lawyer.
Consult an Illinois Car Accident Lawyer
Do you have questions about filing a wrongful death case after a fatal car accident in Illinois? During this extremely difficult time, you may not only be enduring loss and grief but also wanting to ensure that the person responsible for the accident is held accountable. You may also wonder how you will pay your family’s bills without the income your lost loved one contributed to the household. Our experienced attorneys are here to help. We offer a free consultation so that we can discuss your case and make sure that we are the right lawyers for you. Call Staver Accident Lawyers, P.C. by dialing (217) 528-9955 for a free consultation or fill out our online contact form.