Representing Families in Wrongful Death Lawsuits
Every year thousands of people are killed in fatal car accidents, many of which are preventable. The unexpected death of a loved one in a crash is devastating and often leaves surviving family members struggling with emotional and financial hardships. If the fatal car accident was the direct result of someone else’s negligent actions, the victim’s relatives have the right to pursue compensation for their losses through a wrongful death lawsuit against the responsible parties.
Car Accidents Remain a Leading Cause of Death in the United States
Negligence on roads and highways causes thousands of deaths each year. The National Safety Council warned that fatal auto accidents are on the rise in Illinois. The state saw an 11 percent increase in the number of traffic fatalities in the first quarter of 2020 compared to the same period in 2019. The safety group attributed the spike to reckless driving on roadways suddenly clear of congestion with coronavirus restrictions going into effect.
Chicago officials expressed concerns about dangerous driving during the pandemic, reporting a 14 percent rise in speeding. Many factors contribute to the high number of car accidents in the city, including a large volume of commuters and a vast network of highways.
In an analysis of nationwide traffic deaths released in January 2020, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety found that 1031 people died in car accidents in Illinois in 2018. Nationwide, 47 percent of vehicle occupants who were killed in crashes were not wearing seatbelts. Around 12 percent of fatal collisions involved the deaths of young drivers between the ages of 15 and 20.
Toward the end of 2019, the Illinois Department of Transportation reported 978 traffic deaths in the state, which marked a downward trend in motor vehicle fatalities from 2018. However, the reality is that nearly 1,000 people lost their lives that year on state roads. Drunk driving and distracted driving remain growing causes of traffic deaths. Distracted driving was responsible for over 58 percent of crashes involving teen drivers.
Obtaining Compensation Through a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
When someone is killed in a car accident due to the fault of another individual or entity, the death is considered wrongful. Under Illinois law, surviving family members can file a wrongful death claim to seek damages in civil court. A court may also decide to award punitive damages in cases that involve extreme negligence, such as drunk driving.
A spouse or child may bring a wrongful death claim on the deceased individual’s behalf. Parents or siblings may also be eligible in certain cases if the fatal car accident victim did not have a spouse or child.
Wrongful death lawsuits involve complex legal issues of liability. The fault of the negligent individual must be established in fatal collision claims, just like in other types of car accident cases. The party responsible for the wrongful conduct that caused someone’s death may be a person, company or even a government entity such as the City of Chicago. For instance, a CTA bus may have made a careless turn that caused a crash, or a SUV driver ran a red light. In some cases, more than one party may be to blame for the fatal accident.
It is natural to feel overwhelmed after the untimely death of a family member in a car accident. While no amount of money can take away the grief and pain that comes with losing a loved one, Briskman Briskman & Greenberg can help you seek a measure of justice for your loss. Our compassionate and experienced Chicago fatal car accident lawyers will get you the compensation you need with a wrongful death claim so that your family can begin to move forward.
Damages Available After a Fatal Car Accident
Damages in a wrongful death claim are designed to compensate the surviving spouse, children or next of kin for losses that result from a family member’s death. The compensation can go a long way in easing the financial burden that emerges following a loved one’s death in a fatal car accident. The money can help pay bills, cover funeral costs and take care of other future expenses.
A major factor that is considered when determining damages is the surviving family members’ degree of reliance upon the victim of the deadly crash. For instance, a family may be left without its primary breadwinner, forcing a single parent to go back to work or move to cheaper housing because they can no longer afford their mortgage. A wrongful death claim can include the following compensation, for both tangible and intangible losses:
- Medical bills incurred for treatment of car accident-related injuries prior to death
- Pain and suffering prior to death
- Funeral expenses
- Lost future income and benefits the deceased person could have earned over their life expectancy
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of parental guidance for minor children
- Grief and sorrow
- Punitive damages
While fault can be difficult to establish in fatal car accident cases, it is essential for building a case for maximum compensation. A skilled lawyer will prove liability through a variety of methods, such as using accident reconstruction experts and thoroughly investigating the cause of the crash to understand exactly what happened.
Common Causes of Fatal Car Accidents
Speeding is often a major factor in fatal car accidents, which can sometimes involve multiple vehicles. One of the deadliest types of crashes is a vehicle rollover in which a car is flipped over onto its side or roof due to sharp turns at high speeds. While some deadly collisions are indeed the result of negligent driving, they can also occur due to a variety of other reasons. Here are some commonly reported causes:
- Distracted driving
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Defective car parts or mechanical failure
- Poor weather
- Hazardous road conditions
Briskman Briskman & Greenberg is Here to Help
As a family-owned law firm, we understand the emotional trauma and financial difficulties that come with losing a loved one. Briskman Briskman & Greenberg has experience representing family members in the aftermath of fatal car accidents in Chicago and throughout Illinois.
If you have lost a spouse, child or other close relative in a fatal auto accident due to someone else’s carelessness, speak to one of our lawyers to discuss a possible wrongful death claim. We are here to answer your questions and provide you with the advice you need regarding your case. Not only will our wrongful death attorneys hold the negligent party accountable, but we will also ensure you receive full and fair compensation.