Wrongful Death Claims after an Illinois Car Accident

10416Death is an unfortunate part of life, but sometimes due to the negligence of others death comes too soon. When someone dies due to the fault of another’s recklessness or negligence their loved ones, under Illinois law, may be able to claim damages against the at-fault party.

There is no amount of money that can compensate fully for the loss of a loved one but damages can help families cover medical costs, funeral costs, and the cost of living after the loss of the loved one. This allows the family to focus on what matters most – healing. Damages can help a suffering family begin to move forward with their lives without the stress of financial debts hanging overhead.

Wrongful death claims can include a number of types of fatal accidents and can stem from most negligence claims, but most often these claims arise from motor vehicle accidents. A myriad of scenarios can give rise to wrongful death claims.

Manufacturer Negligence
More than 100 wrongful death claims were filed against General Motors following the discovery of defective ignition switches. The defective ignition switch caused vehicles to suddenly turn off which caused many drivers to lose control of their vehicle. In addition, the ignition shut off rendered airbags useless which resulted in many unfortunate and unnecessary deaths.

Many wrongful death claims based on manufacturer negligence have dominated the headlines in recent years. Things like poorly manufactured tires prone to blow outs, defective airbags, or faulty brakes can all give rise to wrongful death claims. Some manufacturers may be quick to dismiss safety concerns in order to maintain high profits at the expense of their customers. However, the costs associated with these extreme measures are always devastating in the long run.

Driver Negligence
Another driver’s behavior can also lead to a wrongful death claim. If an individual is driving recklessly at excessive speeds or engaging in dangerous maneuvers they can easily cause a fatal accident. In addition, distracted driving or drunk driving often cause fatal crashes. This type of careless behavior may seem harmless, but in a single second these selfish tendencies can cause an innocent life to be lost.

Every driver on the road owes the vehicle next to him or her a duty of care which means that each driver should behave the way a reasonable driver would. If a driver fails to maintain this quality of driving and a fatal accident occurs as a result, he or she can be liable for a wrongful death claim.

Negligent Design
Less commonly, the design of a road, an intersection, or an area of a city may be the cause of a fatal car accident. If a stop sign is missing or misplaced, if the lights at an intersection are known to be malfunctioning and are not repaired, or if a road has a hazardous layout, a city, municipality, or a state may be liable for the resulting harm done if a collision takes place including one that claims the life of a victim involved.

Wrongful death claims based on a negligent design theory of liability can be challenging to prosecute and therefore victims may be best served by working with an experienced personal injury attorney in Chicago.

Money can never bring back a lost loved one or diminish the pain and suffering caused by such a tragedy, but it is important to discuss your options with an experienced attorney so that you understand your rights. If your family has been affected by a fatal car accident, contact Abels & Annes, P.C. today at (312) 924-7575 or contact us online for a free case consultation.

Prior Blog Entry:

Illinois Nursing Homes May Be Blamed when Bedsores Occur, Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, published February 15, 2017.