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Contributory negligence can affect a wrongful death claim

On Behalf of | Jan 20, 2016 | Wrongful Death

Tragedy can strike any of us at any time. When it involves the sudden loss of a loved one, surviving family members can be left heartbroken. As they try to deal with their crushed emotions, these families also have to try to handle the financial realities of the situation. They may have to try to figure out how to pay medical expenses and funeral costs, and they might struggle to find financial stability when they can no longer rely on their lost loved one’s wages.

For many, a wrongful death lawsuit can prove beneficial. If successful, such a claim could bring monetary awards that can help a surviving family find financial relief. Though a wrongful death lawsuit can be brought after a loved one’s passing if he or she would have been able to bring the claim if he or she survived, surviving families may find themselves concerned about their lost loved one’s own negligence in the matter.

The good news is that a victim’s contributory negligence will not necessarily bar his or her loved ones from recovering via a wrongful death claim. Any awards, however, can be reduced based on a number of factors. In total, though, these factors will help a judge determine if the victim was more than 50 percent at fault. If not, then the award will simply be reduced by the percentage of blame placed on the victim. If, however, the victim was more than 50 percent at fault, then the victim’s loved ones will be barred from recovering compensation.

Dealing with contributory negligence issues can be highly complicated. However, they must be dealt with thoroughly and carefully. Those who fail to do so may be deemed unable to recover the compensation they desperately need. Speaking with an attorney, therefore, may be a wise choice for those thinking about filing a wrongful death lawsuit.

Source: Illinois General Assembly, “740 ILCS 180,” accessed on Jan. 16, 2016

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