How Much Money Can You Expect From a Wrongful Death Settlement?

wrongful death lawsuit payout

When negligence, carelessness, or an intentional act results in someone’s death, surviving family members are often left picking up the pieces – dealing with grief, unexpected expenses, and an uncertain future.

A wrongful death lawsuit seeks to hold the liable party financially accountable while also providing much-needed closure and compensation to help survivors get through a challenging period.

But exactly what might you expect from a wrongful death settlement or award? And how are damages calculated and funds distributed?

As experienced Bloomington wrongful death attorneys, we’re here to walk you through the key aspects of these unique civil cases. Here’s what to know about wrongful death claims in Illinois.

What is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

A wrongful death lawsuit is a civil action brought by surviving relatives to hold a negligent party liable for their loved one’s death. These cases seek compensation (financial damages) for losses that occur when a family member, spouse, or income provider dies unexpectedly due to another person or entity’s reckless behavior, carelessness, or intentional harm.

Circumstances that may give rise to a wrongful death claim include:

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Illinois?

The Illinois Wrongful Death Act entitles the following family members to pursue wrongful death damages through a civil lawsuit:

  • The surviving spouse or life partner of the deceased individual.
  • Dependent children of the deceased.
  • The parents, siblings, or other next of kin who were financially dependent on the deceased for their livelihood and support.

If the loved one who passed away has no financially dependent survivors, there may still be a case available under the Illinois Survival Act. This law allows the victim’s estate to recover damages for injuries, disability, lost wages, and medical bills incurred before death.

Damages Available in Central Illinois Wrongful Death Lawsuits

Money obtained from wrongful death settlements or court verdicts aims to provide some compensation for the incredible loss and offset new financial challenges family members frequently encounter, including:

  • Past and future lost wages, benefits, and financial support.
  • Burial, funeral, and memorial service expenses.
  • Medical bills and related care before death.
  • Loss of benefits like pensions, health insurance, and social security income.
  • Loss of consortium – companionship, guidance, love from deceased.
  • Pain and suffering, and emotional distress of loved ones before death.
  • Grief, sorrow, and mental anguish of surviving family.

Factors Used in Calculating Settlements in Illinois Wrongful Death Claims

The courts consider many factors when placing a value on wrongful death damages. Economic losses like medical bills and lost future income can be more easily quantified using pay stubs, actuarial data, employment records, and healthcare receipts.

More subjective non-economic damages for intangible yet profound harm like loss of enjoyment of life, expectancy damages, and grief require skilled negotiation by an accomplished attorney.

Key valuation factors include:

  • Support levels provided by the deceased if a wage earner.
  • Number and age of surviving dependents.
  • Standard life expectancy in years.
  • Cause and circumstances around death.
  • Conscious pain and suffering endured before death.
  • Level of emotional attachment or companionship lost.

Settlement averages vary substantially based on specifics like the deceased victim’s income, profession, age, and family situation. Over the years, we have successfully represented families and secured multiple six-figure case results such as:

  • $700,000 for medical negligence resulting in wrongful death
  • $400,000 for medical negligence resulting in wrongful death

At Onward Injury Law, we know that it is impossible to truly quantify the value of a human life or to fully compensate loved ones for their loss with money. However, wrongful death lawsuits seek accountability when negligence or misconduct results in loss of life.

Our legal team will stand by you and your family to pursue justice. We will fight to hold responsible parties fully accountable while supporting you through this difficult process.

How Wrongful Death Settlements Are Paid

For a “survival claim,” the money from the settlement goes to the victim’s estate. Then, it gets divided using their will or under the state’s probate law if there’s no will.

But, most often, for a standard “wrongful death claim,” a judge decides how to split up the money. A court hearing gets scheduled to decide which family members were financially dependent on the victim. The settlement then gets divided proportionally based on how much each qualified family member relied on the deceased person for financial support.

Those closer relatives who were more financially dependent prior to the victim’s passing will typically receive a larger proportion of the payout.

Why Hire an Experienced Wrongful Death Attorney?

There is only a short window under the Illinois statute of limitations to take legal action after losing a loved one to negligence or wrongful acts. Our personal injury lawyers immediately initiate an investigation into the cause of death upon meeting with surviving family members during this critical period.

We understand which forms to file, what evidence to obtain, which parties to name in the action, and how to approach insurance companies for resolution. Over the years, our wrongful death attorneys have successfully handled wrongful death lawsuits — so we know what steps to take to help families obtain fair compensation.

Our legal team will manage negotiations firmly and strategically throughout wrongful death litigation – working to avoid lowball offers and get you maximum settlement value under state laws. If we cannot reach reasonable agreements outside court, we aren’t afraid to take a case to trial in pursuit of full justice.

With so much weighing on each phase of a claim – from preserving the right to sue the defendant to ensuring appropriate settlement distribution – it pays to have a dedicated professional managing the legal complexities while you focus on healing from a tragic loss.

Reach Out to Onward Injury Law Today

Losing a loved one in an accident, act of negligence, or at the hands of another party warrants legal action. Wrongful death litigation provides accountability and gives the surviving family members a chance to recover financially.

While no dollar amount could ever make up for the sudden loss of your cherished family member or spouse, compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit helps you get through a challenging period.

Contact our compassionate Central Illinois personal injury law firm today, online or by phone, for a free case review if your loved one lost their life unnecessarily due to another party’s negligence or harmful actions.

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