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Who can file a wrongful death lawsuit?

Posted by David Nemeroff | Dec 05, 0201 | 0 Comments

At this time of the year, I like to go back and reflect upon previous blog posts. One in particular stays with me, it is that of the Delia and Marvin family. It started as a normal Tuesday morning in the City of Chicago for this family. What happened next changed many lives forever. The family was looking forward to a trip long awaited summer trip to the Wisconsin Dells. Unfortunately, this well planned trip resulted in tragedy before it started. Two innocent victims are dead and many others seriously injured after a car crash in the Jefferson Park area.

Claudia Delia, was taking the usual route to her step son's home when her car was struck by a fast traveling Ford Mustang. The fatal car crash happened at the intersection of Austin and Sunnyside avenues. It occurred in Jefferson Park at 8 a.m. Claudia and her 16 year old son Bryan Delia were killed instantly in the crash. Three passengers that were traveling in the back seat of Delia's car were seriously injured. Her 3 year old son, Hauk Marvin, suffered a fractured leg. Another passenger sustained a serious head trauma or traumatic brain injury. The driver of the Mustang, Richard Strum, was later charged with DUI at the scene.

As a Chicago injury lawyer, it is my experience that many of the most frequent types of personal injury or wrongful death claims involves transportation. Usually involving an automobile or car, truck, bus, airplane or train. The injured party in an automobile accident, may be entitled to recover compensation for the damages involved. These damages often include for compensation of medical bills, car or vehicle repairs, victim's pain and suffering, loss of earning, and future loss of earnings. If the result of the car accident was death, you may be able to file a wrongful death suit.

Let's look at what is involved in a personal injury or a wrongful death claim. A wrongful death case is a law suit that arises due to the death of an individual. If the death was by the wrong or negligent conduct of another individual then a wrongful death claim can be filed. The wrongful death law suit or claim is brought by the family members or the victim's estate. In most cases a wrongful death claim is initiated to recover damages or compensate for the injuries that victim's estate or surviving families have suffered. Basically, it is to recover damages due to the loss or death of a family member.

Let's take a closer look at some of the damages that can be recovered in a wrongful death case. The family can be reimbursement for what is called direct expenses. These are expenses incurred such as funeral costs and medical bills. The family can also be compensated for the loss of the victim's benefits. Many ask, what is loss of benefits? This is what the victim was entitled to receive in 401K earnings, pension funds or retirement benefits over their surviving life time. The future earnings of the victim can be damages in a wrongful death claim. The loss of future earnings can also be considered damages. In simple terms, it is income the person who died would have earned over the years if he or she had lived. Additional damages can include the loss of companionship and punitive damages.

Source: Mother and son killed, 4 others hurt in Jefferson Park crash, Chicago Tribune, August 9, 2011

About the Author

David Nemeroff

In January 2012, David Nemeroff was voted one of the Top 100 Lawyers in the entire state of Illinois (out of 83,000 lawyers) by Super Lawyers Magazine...

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