Proving Fault in a Wrongful Death Claim

Hearing the news that a family member has suddenly died is devastating.

However, that sadness could soon lead to anger if it becomes evident that your family member died due to another person’s negligence.

If this is the case, you could bring a wrongful death suit against the other party. And if you do, you need to know the burden of proof when you bring your case to court.

Wrongful Death in Illinois Defined

A wrongful death happens when a person dies due to another party’s “wrongful act, neglect, or default.”

A wrongful death claim can be brought in any situation where the person could have pursued a personal injury claim had they survived.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Illinois?

A wrongful death claim must be filed by the personal representative (sometimes called the “executor”) of the deceased person’s estate. This can be a spouse, child, close family member, or friend, depending on what the deceased’s plan says.

If they died without appointing a personal representative, the court may select one responsible for pursuing the wrongful death claim. They may also carry out other estate-related tasks if needed.

Proving Elements of Negligence in a Wrongful Death Case

Proving a wrongful death can be a complicated process. During the suit, the representative must show that one or multiple failures happened due to the fault of another party, and they led to the deceased’s death.

Duty of Care

Duty of care states that a person must act toward others and the public with the watchfulness, attention, caution, and prudence that a reasonable person in the circumstances would use.

You must prove that the other party was negligent when they were supposed to keep an eye on your loved one. This could happen when medical professionals or aids act in a way that leads to death.

Breach of Duty

Here, strict standards are set, and a party does not follow them. If someone’s actions fall short and injury or death occurs, they can be found guilty of breach of duty.

For example, this could occur on work sites if employers don’t enforce safety rules.


In the event of causation, one party’s direct actions caused the injury or death of another. You must prove that through their actions, or lack thereof, the death of your family member happened.

Damages in a Wrongful Death Claim

When you present your wrongful death suit, Illinois law allows you to seek compensation for various damages, such as:

  • Loss of financial support the deceased would have provided, like wages and benefits
  • Loss of consortium (meaning the loss of society, companionship, and the sexual relationship the deceased would have had with their spouse)
  • Loss of instruction, education, and moral training the deceased would have provided to any surviving children, and
  • Survivors’ grief, sorrow, and mental suffering

Illinois has no cap on the amount of money you can pursue in your suit.

Contact a Wrongful Death Lawyer in Illinois Today

If you are trying to prove negligence in a wrongful death suit in Illinois, you will need an experienced lawyer to help you. The attorneys at Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. give you the best chance of winning your case.

We are highly skilled wrongful death lawyers who know how to recover the financial compensation that your family needs. Call us at 312-236-2900 or send us a message for a free consultation.