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What is considered when awarding wrongful death compensation?


When tragedy strikes, and a family in Illinois loses a loved one due to the negligent actions of another, a serious amount of emotional turmoil can ensue. Oftentimes, surviving family members struggle to cope with the loss. After all, they will never again be able to spend time with their loved one, speak with them, hear them laugh or celebrate birthdays and holidays with them. These losses alone are enough to leave a surviving family member with grief, sadness and depression. Amidst all this pain and suffering, though, a surviving family may be forced to find a way to deal with the unexpected financial consequences of their loved one's death.

The financial damages suffered from the unexpected loss of a loved one can be quite severe. Medical expenses and funeral costs can cost thousands of dollars, and if the deceased individual worked, then his or her lost wages can be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Fortunately, surviving family members may be able to recover these losses if they file and succeed on a wrongful death claim.

But how much can an individual recover from a wrongful death claim? It depends on the circumstances. However, by looking at the factors laid out in jury instructions, an individual may get a better sense of what is recoverable. Quite often, a judge will instruct a jury to consider what money, benefits, goods and services the deceased individual historically contributed to the family. Other factors may include what income was expected in the future, the deceased individual's expenses, his or her age, gender, health, occupational outlook and habits, as well the relationship between the plaintiff and the deceased individual.

The compensation portion of a wrongful death claim can be just as heated as the negligence portion. This means that a plaintiff needs to be armed with strong evidence so that he or she can have the best possible chance of recovering the full extent of his or her harm. Those who wish to learn more about how to do this may want to speak with an advocate who can properly advise them.

Source: Illinois Courts, "31.00 Damages - Wrongful Death," accessed on Nov. 18, 2016

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