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How Does a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Differ from a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

How Does a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Differ from a Personal Injury Lawsuit?There are both similarities and differences between a wrongful death lawsuit and a personal injury lawsuit in Chicago. Both suits are brought in civil court. Although a plaintiff can file personal injury or wrongful death claims if the conduct of the defendant was intentional, there is no need to prove a criminal wrong was committed. Both lawsuits can be based on negligence involving car accidents, truck accidents, product defects, construction accidents, slips and falls, medical malpractice, nursing home abuse and neglect, and many other types of incidents.

Who can file a personal injury lawsuit?

Anyone who suffers an injury due to an accident caused by the carelessness or neglect of another can file a personal injury claim. Any person who suffers injures due to a product defect can file a product liability claim. Common injuries in both personal injury and product liability cases include:

·       Traumatic brain injury

·       Spinal cord damage

·       Broken bones

·       Nerve, ligament, tissue, and muscle damage

·       Burn injuries

·       Soft tissue injuries

·       Damage to internal organs

·       Any other serious physical injuries

The spouse of a personal injury victim also has the right to file a loss of consortium claim. Loss of consortium means the loss of emotional support, companionship, and intimacy an injured spouse can no longer provide.

Who can file a wrongful death claim?

According to Illinois’ wrongful death statute, a wrongful death claim is brought by the personal representative of the estate of the decedent (the person who died). The personal representative is the person appointed as executor if your loved one had a will, or the person approved by court. Typically, a spouse, adult child, or parent will seek court approval to act as the personal representative if there is not a will.

What damages can victims seek in a personal injury claim?

In most cases, drivers, passengers, pedestrians, shoppers, contractors, nursing home patients, and anyone injured due to another’s negligence can seek personal injury damages. At Gainsberg Law, we demand:

·       Payment for all your medical expenses (past and future), including surgeries, doctor visits, treatment with therapists, medical devices, and medications

·       Compensation for your income losses (past and future) when you can’t work due to your injuries

·       Compensation for your physical pain and emotional suffering – chronic pain, anxiety, worries, and loss of function

·       Damages for the cost to repair or replace your vehicle

·       Loss of consortium damages

·       Compensation for any scarring or disfigurement

What damages can victims seek in a wrongful death claim?

A personal representative files a wrongful death claim on behalf of the decedent’s spouse, children, and other next of kin. Damages in wrongful death cases in Chicago include:

·      Funeral and burial expenses

·      Financial losses, such as the loss of financial support the decedent would have provided their family had they not died, including lost income and benefits.

·      The grief, sorrow, and mental suffering of the surviving family members

·      The value of the loss of education, guidance, and support the deceased would have given their surviving children

How does a wrongful death court case differ from a personal injury case?

There are specific time limits for filing personal injury cases that may differ from the time for filing a wrongful death lawsuit. It is best to speak with an experienced Chicago personal injury and wrongful death lawyer as quickly as possible. Your lawyer can advise you of the time limits for each type of claim.

The major difference between a personal injury case and a wrongful death case is that the victim in a wrongful death case cannot provide a deposition or testify at any trial. To level the playing field, the defendants normally cannot give testimony about the accident in a wrongful death case, with some limited exceptions. This means we need to work with witnesses, the police, and others to help to show how the accident happened and who is responsible.

If the decedent initially survived the accident and succumbed to their injuries later, then the decedent’s estate can file a survival action seeking the damages to which the decedent would have been entitled had they survived their injuries. These damages are generally the same damages that are sought in a personal injury case. The difference from a standard personal injury case is that your loved one cannot testify. We work with their physicians to show just how much pain and agony your loved one suffered.

At Gainsberg Law P.C., our Chicago accident lawyers have the experience and resources to represent injured victims and the families of those killed due to the negligence or fault of a person or company. We’ve being fighting for injury victims for 20 years, and our strong track record of success includes numerous large settlements and verdicts. While we can never guarantee any outcome, we work diligently and aggressively to obtain the strongest settlements and jury verdicts possible.

A few of our notable settlements/verdicts include:

  • $3 million for an airline employee who suffered a traumatic brain injury
  • $1,150,000 pre-trial settlement for a Metra worker
  • $1 million in settlements for a pedestrian who was struck by a Chicago Transit Authority bus
  • The maximum policy limits in a wrongful death case when a 15-year old boy was killed in a house fire

At Gainsberg Law, our Chicago personal injury and wrongful death lawyers handle the difficult cases. We fight to hold defendants responsible, such as drivers, property owners, manufacturers, and nursing homes accountable for changing your life or tragically ending the life of a loved one. We work with your physicians to fully show just how devasting your injures are. When accidents occur, you need an experienced trial lawyer on your side. Call us today at 312.600.9585 or complete our contact form to make an appointment.