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Chicago Wrongful Death Lawyer

After the loss of a loved one, the prospect of filing a wrongful death claim can be particularly difficult to deal with. The Chicago Law firm of Taxman, Pollock, Murray & Bekkerman, LLC, is made up of lawyers specializing in wrongful death cases who offer experienced representation for those coping with the shocking and painful aftermath of a wrongful death. We can provide much needed advice for clients hoping to recover emotional and monetary damages for the loss of someone close to them. Our Chicago wrongful death lawyers understand the complexity of each individual case and will work one-on-one with clients to ensure that they will receive the damages that they are entitled to. Contact us today.

Meet Your Attorneys

Taxman, Pollock, Murray & Bekkerman, LLC, stands as a testament to the dedication and success of its four founders, each renowned in their field. With a focus on personal injury law, our firm has earned its reputation through years of diligent representation for victims of negligence. With decades of collective experience, we specialize in cases ranging from medical and nursing home negligence to trucking and bicycle accidents, motor vehicle negligence, product liability, premises liability, explosions, and workplace injuries.

“Other large firms in Chicago did not think my case could be won”

Eyad M. | Google Review

Why Work with Our Chicago Wrongful Death Attorneys

Our wrongful death legal team uses a new-age modern approach to attain the maximum compensation for our client’s cases. Count on us to conduct a thorough investigation of your case, collect evidence from multiple sources to find the cause, and represent you in court aggressively to hold the erring party liable for the death of your loved one.

Previous Case Results

  • $2.9 million settlement, plus a waiver of $180,000 workers’ compensation lien, in a product liability claim for the wrongful death of a 67-year-old mechanic when a fabric sling used to lift a piece of equipment was cut causing the load to fall.
  • $2 million wrongful death settlement against two subcontractors working at a roofing project at a warehouse in Waukegan, IL on behalf of the estate of a 20-year-old roofer who fell through an open and unmarked skylight, and died as a result.
  • $1.5 million settlement from a trucking company and freight broker for the wrongful death of a 74-year-old woman.
  • $1.5 million policy limits settlement for a family of three killed in a motor vehicle crash in suburban Chicago.

We understand that no amount of monetary damages can turn back the clock. While we cannot change the outcome of the accident, our skilled wrongful death attorneys will provide you with compassionate and dedicated counsel. This allows you to focus your time, energy, and attention on other matters during this difficult time.


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How Can a Chicago Wrongful Death Lawyer Help with My Claim?

Wrongful death claims in Chicago can become immensely challenging civil cases. In order to bring a successful claim, there are various elements that must be in place. A wrongful death lawyer will have a multifaceted role when working through your claim. This will include:

  • Reviewing the initial facts of the case and helping you determine the best steps moving forward
  • Conducting a thorough investigation into the incident in order to gather evidence
  • Opening communication with other parties and insurance carriers involved
  • Handling any negotiations for a possible settlement
  • Filing a wrongful death claim in civil court
  • Fully preparing the case for a trial by jury

The complex nature of wrongful death claims can seem intimidating to those without much experience in this particular area of law. Your attorney will be your advocate. They will handle every aspect of the claim on your behalf while keeping you up to date as the case moves forward.

What is Wrongful Death?

Wrongful death is a legal term describing the demise of a person due to negligence or recklessness of other individuals or entities. Immediate family members of the deceased victims are usually the parties that file a wrongful death lawsuit or claim. With the help of a trusted wrongful death lawyer, they can obtain fair and full compensation for their financial and emotional damages.

In the case of wrongful death, we can aid those experiencing loss of companionship, financial loss, and mental pain and suffering. In Illinois, wrongful death lawsuits can be filed if a loved one dies due to the fault of another person. This can be due to negligence, which may arise from auto accidents, trucking accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, construction accidents, explosions, nursing home negligence, slips and falls, spinal cord injuries, dangerous and defective products, medical malpractice or other circumstances.

In a wrongful death case family members of the victim may be permitted compensation for any medical bills, pain and suffering, and funeral costs that arise. One of the main purposes of filing a wrongful death suit is to lessen the financial stress of the family members of the deceased. Although no monetary compensation can make up for the loss of a loved one, it is the first step towards gaining justice after such a traumatic event.

Additionally, family members may seek compensation for loss of future income and benefits, loss of future inheritance, loss of parental guidance, loss of spousal companionship, protection and care, grief, sorrow and mental suffering of surviving spouse and next of kin, medical expenses, and punitive damages (if defendant’s actions were intentional).

Who Can I Hold Accountable for a Wrongful Death?

There may be various parties who could be held liable for your wrongful death in Chicago. The wrongful death law in Illinois states that these claims arise due to the wrongful act, neglect, or default of another, but what does that mean?

Some of the most common ways that wrongful death cases arise in this area include incidents involving:

  • Traditional car accidents
  • Crashes with large commercial trucks or buses
  • Motorcycle, bicycle, and pedestrian accidents
  • Incidents caused by defective products
  • Premises liability accidents
  • Intentional acts of violence, including assault and deadly weapons cases
  • Medical errors

This is certainly not a complete list of the ways that wrongful death claims arise. As we will cover in a moment, proving wrongful death can be challenging but not impossible. An attorney needs to examine your case to determine whether or not you have a viable wrongful death claim to move forward with.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Chicago?

It is crucial to understand that not every individual can file a wrongful death action claim in Illinois. In many other states, at least reviving family members of the deceased can file a wrongful death claim. However, the responsibility for filing a wrongful death claim in Illinois falls to the original representative or executor of the deceased’s estate.

If an individual died without appointing a personal representative to their state, the court can appoint a personal representative. This individual will be responsible not only for pursuing them off death claim but for carrying out other tasks related to the estate.

However, the damages awarded if a wrongful death claim is successful are paid to both the survivors of the deceased as well as the estate. Typically, the damages are paid first to the deceased’s surviving spouse and then next of kin according to the level of dependency on the deceased individual.

Chicago Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations

Every state is allowed to set time limits for how long plaintiffs have to file personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits. In Illinois, the wrongful death statute of limitations is two years from the date of the individual’s death. However, if the individual lost her life as a result of intentional violent conduct, the lawsuit can be filed within five years from the date of death.

In most situations, failing to file a wrongful death lawsuit within this two- or five-year time frame will likely mean that the plaintiff’s case will be dismissed, leaving the family members and the estate unable to recover compensation.

For deaths involving ongoing criminal cases, the plaintiffs for the wrongful death civil claim can file their case within one year from the day the criminal case is completed if the person is charged with the following crimes:

  • First- or second-degree murder
  • Involuntary manslaughter or reckless homicide
  • Involuntary manslaughter or reckless homicide of an unborn child
  • Intentional homicide or voluntary manslaughter of an unborn child
  • Drug-induced homicide

How to Prove a Wrongful Death Claim in Chicago

Proving a wrongful death occurred can be exceedingly difficult, particularly for those who do not have much legal experience. Family members and the personal representative of the deceased are typically not the ones who will be proving this case to the insurance carriers or to a wrongful death civil court jury.

A skilled Chicago wrongful death attorney will get involved and help figure out what happened. They will use their resources to fully investigate every aspect of the case. This will include gathering evidence such as video surveillance footage, eyewitness statements, police or accident reports, and more.

An attorney will seek to show that a duty of care existed between the defendant and the deceased and that the defendant somehow breached their duty of care through their negligent actions. An attorney will show that this breach of duty led to the death of the deceased, and they will also establish the compensable losses sustained by the estate and surviving family members.

chicago wrongful death lawyers

Understanding Damages in a Wrongful Death Case

There is no dollar amount that can erase the pain and suffering caused by the loss of a loved one, particularly if that person lost their life due to a tragedy. However, compensation can help ease the loss by providing family members with the compensation they need to move forward appropriately.

Damages awarded if a wonderful death claim is successful are intended to compensate the deceased individual’s survivors not just for the economic losses associated with the death but also for the intangible losses they suffer.

Damages is the word the law uses to refer to compensation in a personal injury or wrongful death case due to another’s negligence. During a wrongful death lawsuit, you can claim several items of potential damages related to economic loss and emotional harm. You and your skilled wrongful death lawyer may pursue compensation for economic damages, including:

  • Burial and Funeral Expenses
  • Medical Costs Incurred Prior to the Death of Your Loved One
  • Loss of the Deceased Individual’s Income and Benefits, such as Pension and Health Insurance

You also have the option to seek compensation for non-economic damages, including:

  • The loss of consortium, which includes the loss of companionship, society, and sexual relations the deceased would have had with their spouse had they lived.
  • The loss of education, moral training, instruction, and guidance the deceased would have provided to any surviving children.
  • The sorrow, grief, and mental anguish of survivors.

Many states in this country place limitations or caps on the total amount of damages that can be awarded to plaintiffs in a wrongful death case. However, Illinois does not have any such limitations in place. A wrongful death lawyer in Chicago will work with trusted economic and financial experts to adequately calculate the total losses that the family and the estate are expected to incur as a result of the injuries leading to the untimely fatality.

If you lost your child, spouse, or parent in an accident and believe that someone acted recklessly or negligently, get in touch with our Chicago-based wrongful death law firm. Schedule a free consultation with our attentive and seasoned attorneys by calling (312) 586-1700 or using our website contact form.

How Much is a Wrongful Death Case Worth?

There is no set or average amount of compensation paid for a wrongful death claim in Chicago. Rather, every case must be examined for specific details. No two wrongful death cases are exactly alike. If you ask your wrongful death lawyer how much compensation you can expect, you may get a ballpark estimate, but giving an exact figure would be impossible. These claims can be unpredictable.

However, there are specific factors that can be taken into account to determine how much a case is worth. These factors will be examined by insurance carriers as well as the personal injury jury before they render a verdict. Some of the factors that can influence wrongful death case worth include:

  • The age of the deceased
  • The occupation and earning capacity of the deceased at their time of death
  • The future expected earning capacity of the deceased (factoring in bonuses and expected raises)
  • The lost the value of household services the deceased regularly performed
  • The level of pain and suffering endured by the family members
  • The amount of children or other dependents
  • The age of any children or dependents

When working through a wrongful death claim, it is not uncommon for insurance carriers to offer a settlement. However, insurance carriers typically offer low settlements in order to protect their profits. It may be necessary for the personal representative of the deceased’s estate to move forward with a wrongful death lawsuit in civil court.

How Wrongful Death Claims Work in Illinois

The process of filing a wrongful death claim in Illinois is not always straightforward. Importantly, we strongly suggest individuals contact a wrongful death attorney as soon as possible. An attorney needs to be involved early in the process so they can handle all communications with other parties.

The first step with a wrongful death claim is typically an investigation into the incident in order to determine whether or not the claim is viable to move forward. An attorney will examine whether or not the other party was likely negligent in causing the death.

Wrongful death claims get filed in civil court in the state of Illinois. These are separate from criminal charges that may be associated with the death. An attorney will file the claim and typically receive a response from the alleged negligent party or their legal team or insurance carrier. There may be a period of negotiation where the claim gets settled before the process moves forward. However, it is not uncommon to begin with the discovery process, which is where attorneys for all parties involved exchange evidence with one another. In most cases, there will be depositions of witnesses involved and those who may be called to testify at trial.

It is not uncommon for a settlement to be reached even during the discovery process as more information and evidence come to light. If a claim is settled during this process, then that is the end of the wrongful death case. However, in the event the two parties cannot reach a settlement agreement, the case will need to move forward to a trial by jury. If the case goes to a trial, your wrongful death lawyer will represent the estate of the deceased in the courtroom. They will present evidence to a jury, question witnesses, and participate in cross-examination of witnesses for the other party.

A jury will be responsible for hearing the evidence and determining whether or not the alleged negligent party more likely than not caused the death.

Chicago Wrongful Death Frequently Asked Questions

Will I have to go to court if I file a wrongful death lawsuit?

Like any lawsuit, there is a likelihood that the action will require a court proceeding. You’ll need to bring your case to a jury if the negligent party refuses to settle out of court. Since trials can be complex, you’ll need a skilled wrongful death lawyer to represent you in court, protect your rights, and properly litigate your claim.

Are the laws concerning wrongful death the same for all states?

No, since states have their wrongful death laws. If you’re going to seek compensation for the death of your loved one, you should turn to a qualified wrongful death law office that understands the relevant laws in your state.

How quickly should I get in touch with an attorney?

As soon as possible, preferably following the accident that resulted in the demise of your loved one. There are many steps to take to obtain just compensation, including gathering and securing evidence, interviewing witnesses, performing testing of vehicles or products, and so on. It is vital that these steps are done immediately, as the insurance company will certainly be taking these same steps on behalf of the defendant.

It’s also important to file a claim in a timely manner as the statute of limitations for wrongful death lawsuits in Illinois is two-years from the date of death.

What Constitutes a Wrongful Death?

When we examine Illinois law, we can see that a wrongful death occurs when a person loses their life due to the “wrongful act, neglect or default” of another individual or entity (740 Ill. Comp. Stat. 180/1 (2021). Under this law, we can see that wrongful death claims can be brought if the deceased would have been able to file a personal injury lawsuit against the alleged negligent party had they survived the incident. It may be useful to think of a wrongful death claim as the personal injury claim the deceased individual is no longer able to pursue. Instead, another party has to step in and file the claim on their behalf. In these cases, the personal representative of the deceased’s estate is responsible for filing the claim in court.

What About Criminal Charges?

Wrongful death claims are filed in civil court. Not all wrongful death claims involve criminal acts, but some do. For example, if a drunk driver caused an accident that led to the death of the deceased, the drunk driver may also face criminal charges filed by prosecutors. However, there does not have to be any type of charges filed against an individual in order for the personal representatives of an estate to bring a wrongful death claim. These are two separate actions with different burdens of proof.

Contact a Chicago Wrongful Death Lawyer Today

If you have lost somebody that you love as a result of the careless, negligent, or intentional actions of another individual or entity in Chicago, reach out to an attorney immediately. At Taxman, Pollock, Murray & Bekkerman, LLC, we have an extensive track record of success handling complex wrongful death claims throughout Illinois.

“I had a great experience with Mr. Sean Murray along with his team. Everyone I interacted with was very helpful and answered any questions that I had. They were great through the entire process and won me more than I thought possible. I would highly recommend them to anyone looking for legal counsel. Thank you again to Sean Murray and his team!”

– Jesse S

Our team has the resources necessary to fully investigate every aspect of your claim to seek justice and help make sure that your family’s needs are met. We want to make sure that you recover full compensation for your losses and that you gain closure through this process.

Areas We Proudly Serve Around Chicago, IL

Berwyn Calumet City Chicago Heights | Crystal Lake | Barrington | Barrington Hills | County Club Hills | Batavia | Arlington Heights | Bensenville | Elmhurst | Cicero | Carol Stream | Lincolnwood | Chicago Ridge | Bridgeview | Algonquin | Buffalo Grove | Aurora | Carpentersville | Channahon | Elmwood Park | Westchester | Winnetka | Naperville | Bloomingdale | Westmont

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