Compassionate Illinois Wrongful Death Attorneys Dedicated to Advocating on Behalf of Families Suffering Through a Tragic Loss
Losing a loved one in a fatal car accident will immediately and permanently impact your life, as well as the lives of those you love. Not only do the surviving family members grieve for their loved ones but they are often left with lingering questions about the circumstances of their loved one’s death and may wonder what they can do about it. On top of this, families must also face the financial reality of their loss, such as the loss of an income earner, extensive medical bills and funeral costs. It is hard to understand and even harder to live with.
At Briskman, Briskman & Greenberg, we understand the difficult situation your family is experiencing. If you and your family have lost a loved one in a fatal Chicago car accident, you could be entitled to compensation for your damages. Of course, these cases are not only about money; they are also about seeking justice by holding the person who was at fault legally accountable. If you are considering a wrongful death claim, you deserve experienced and empathetic legal representation from attorneys who will fight for your rights.
Illinois Fatal Car Accidents
On average, more than three people per day are killed in an Illinois car accident. The number of fatal car accidents in Illinois has steadily increased since about 2009, rising from 911 in 2009 to more than 1,330 in 2021. In total, less than one percent of car accidents in Illinois results in a fatality; however, certain types of accidents, such as head-on collisions, are more likely to end in a fatality.
Types of Illinois Fatal Car Accidents
Most fatal car accidents involve collisions between two cars; however, a significant portion of the traffic deaths in Chicago involve others on the road.
Fatal Pedestrian Accidents
Pedestrian accidents are far less common than crashes between two motor vehicles. In fact, according to the 2021 Illinois Crash Facts & Statistics publication, just 1.3 percent of all fatal accidents involve a pedestrian. However, these pedestrian accidents are much more likely to be fatal. For example, while fatal pedestrian collisions accounted for just over one percent of all traffic accidents, they were responsible for over 17 percent of all traffic fatalities.
Fatal Bicycle Accidents
Bicycle accidents are also relatively rare, but like pedestrian accidents, they present a higher risk of fatal injury. For example, in 2021, the total number of bike accidents in Illinois made up just about one percent of all traffic collisions, yet they were responsible for over three percent of the traffic-related deaths for that same year.
Fatal Motorcycle Accidents
Motorcyclists accept a certain level of risk each time they hop on their bikes. However, motorcyclists shouldn’t have to assume another driver’s negligence. The unfortunate reality is that motorcyclists are involved in a disproportioned number of fatal accidents. For example, according to the most recent data, motorcycle crashes make up about one percent of all traffic accidents in Illinois each year but are responsible for over 13.5 percent of all fatalities.
Causes of Fatal Car Accidents in Chicago
If drivers followed the rules of the road and paid attention at all times, the rate of fatal accidents in Illinois would drop to almost zero. However, history has shown that drivers routinely neglect to prioritize safe driving. While there are many potential causes of a fatal Chicago car accident, some of the most common include the following:
Aggressive driving includes speeding, cutting in and out of lanes, cutting other drivers off, brake-checking, and road rage. Aggressive driving is most common during rush hour and other times of heavy traffic. According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, speeding alone is responsible for over 44 percent of all fatal traffic accidents.
Despite decades of driver education programs highlighting the dangers of impaired driving, drunk driving is the second most common cause of fatal traffic accidents in Illinois after speeding. Drivers who get behind the wheel after having too much to drink experience an increased reaction time as well as impaired decision-making and motor skills. In 2021, over 22 percent of all fatal car accidents involved a drunk driver.
Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of fatal traffic accidents in Chicago, throughout Illinois, as well as across the United States. Distracted driving includes using a cell phone while driving, talking with passengers, daydreaming, grooming, eating, scrolling social media and anything else that removes a driver’s attention from the road. However, unlike other causes, distracted driving deaths are harder to quantify because there is no good way for responding officers to determine that a driver was distracted unless, for example, the driver admits to texting while driving. However, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration estimates that approximately 3,522 people died in distracted driving accidents in 2021 alone.
Illinois Wrongful Death Laws
While not every fatal accident can be the basis for a wrongful death suit, these claims are appropriate following any fatal accident that was caused by another driver’s negligence.
Illinois’ wrongful death law allows for the personal representative of the deceased accident victim’s estate to file a legal claim against the at-fault party. These wrongful death claims, while filed by the victim’s personal representative, are intended for the benefit of the victim’s immediate family members. A wrongful death claim is appropriate if the deceased person could have filed a personal injury lawsuit if they had survived.
How Long Do You Have to File a Wrongful Death Claim in Chicago?
There are time limits for filing a wrongful death claim in court. This is referred to as the statute of limitations. After a fatal accident, the family has either two years from the date of the car accident or one year from the date of death, whichever date will be later. Sometimes an accident may occur months or years before the victim dies of their injuries, which may give their family a path to compensation for damages even if the initial two-year statute of limitations for car accident and personal injury cases has passed. Importantly, a family’s failure to file a wrongful death lawsuit within the statute of limitations could result in the court dismissing the lawsuit and the family missing out on compensation to which they otherwise would have been entitled.
What Damages Can Families Recover in a Chicago Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Families who lost a loved one in a fatal car accident experience a tremendous loss. And, of course, no one could possibly try to assign a value to the loss of their loved one. However, through a wrongful death lawsuit, grieving families may be able to obtain meaningful compensation that will ensure they are not left dealing with the financial burden of their loss.
Of course, every case is unique, which makes it almost impossible to provide an average wrongful death damages award or average wrongful death settlement amount. However, as a general rule, Illinois courts permit families to recover damages the following damages if they successfully bring a wrongful death lawsuit:
- Grief and emotional pain,
- Loss of love and support of a parent,
- Loss of financial support from a spouse,
- Loss of companionship,
- Medical expenses, and
- Funeral and burial costs.
Of course, there may be other types of damages available as well, depending on the specific situation. Some damages, like medical bills and other economic damages, are easy to calculate. Often, your attorney will gather documentation of medical expenses, funeral costs, and other quantifiable expenses.
However, other types of damages like grief and emotional pain, are harder to quantify because they do not correspond to a precise dollar value. These damages are referred to as non-economic damages because of the subjectivity involved in determining their value. However, non-economic damages are especially important in a wrongful death case. An experienced Chicago fatal car accident attorney can help you determine what you might be able to expect by reviewing all the evidence in your case.
Who Can Bring a Wrongful Death Case in Illinois?
In Illinois, a wrongful death case must be initiated by the personal representative of the accident victim’s estate. A personal representative may have been named in the accident victim’s will before they died; however, if that wasn’t the case, the court will appoint a personal representative to oversee the victim’s affairs. Often, courts prefer to appoint an immediate family member of the deceased such as a spouse, parent or adult child, and the compensation received is for the benefit of their dependents. Regardless of who is appointed to serve as an accident victim’s personal representative, they have a legal duty to the victim’s family members to pursue a wrongful death claim, whenever appropriate.
The Briskman Guarantee
At Briskman, Briskman & Greenberg, we know you have a choice when it comes to selecting a personal injury or workers’ compensation attorney, which is why we adopted the Briskman guarantee. The Briskman Guarantee is a six-part promise that we make to each of our clients:
1. You will receive a free consultation with an experienced attorney.
2. You will speak with an attorney when you call our office.,
3. You will never have to pay a fee unless we can win your case.
4. We will always treat you with courtesy and respect.
5. We will keep you updated on the status of your case.
6. We will promptly return your calls and emails.
The Briskman guarantee represents our commitment to our clients and their families. Other firms may claim to put their clients first, but our client testimonials and track record of success speak for themselves.
Why Choose Briskman Briskman & Greenberg to Handle Your Fatal Car Accident Case?
If you recently lost a loved one in a tragic accident, we understand your pain and recognize that there may not ever seem to be a good time to talk with a lawyer about what you’ve been through. However, over the past four decades, we’ve helped countless grieving families overcome the financial burdens of a Chicago fatal car accident, and we truly believe that we’ve helped them move on with their lives—as difficult as it has been for them. At Briskman Briskman & Greenberg, our compassionate personal injury attorneys take a unique approach to the recovery process, tailoring every aspect of our representation to our individual clients. We take the time to listen to what is important to you, to answer your questions, and to make sure that we frequently update you on your case’s progress.
Speak with an Experienced Wrongful Death Lawyer About Your Case Today
If you have lost a family member in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, the dedicated Illinois personal injury lawyers at Briskman, Briskman & Greenberg can help. We understand how difficult it is to suddenly lose a loved one in an accident and processing a loss of this magnitude is hard enough without the added stress of finances.
Our firm has over 30 years of experience advocating on behalf of injury victims and their families. When you invite us to work on your case, we will fight for your family’s rights with sensitivity and determination, keeping you informed every step of the way. At Briskman Briskman & Greenberg, we take your injury personally.
As a part of the Briskman Guarantee, your initial consultation is free. We work on a contingency fee basis, meaning you only pay us when we are successful in getting compensation for you or your family. To learn more, call 1-877-595-4878 to schedule a free consultation today. Briskman, Briskman & Greenberg has locations in Joliet and Chicago to serve you better.