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Wrongful Death Lawsuits after a Car Accident

Posted on in Car Accidents

IllinoisIf you have experienced the death of a loved one because of someone else’s negligence, you will likely see a long, daunting road to emotional recovery. Couple this with the unexpected financial burdens of the death of a loved one, and it can seem like an impossible recovery. Funeral costs alone can be enough to make a family suffer terrible financial hardship — the average cost of a traditional funeral can be upwards of $10,000, including embalmment, casket, and cemetery services. While a life insurance policy may defray some of these costs, if the person died because of another person’s negligence, the surviving family may be eligible for a wrongful death lawsuit.

One example of when a wrongful death lawsuit may be applicable is after a car accident. Wrongful death lawsuits can have large payouts for surviving family members. In one recent lawsuit settled in California, a 13-year-old girl was awarded $150 million after she watched her family burn to death in a highway crash. The accident, which occurred in 2009, was ruled to be the fault of a truck driver who had illegally parked on a highway shoulder. The young girl, then 9, watched her family burn to death after the SUV they were in got trapped under the rig.

The payout in a wrongful death settlement is determined on a case-by-case basis. Often in a wrongful death lawsuit, economists are called as expert witness and make a suggestion for the payout determined by a calculation of net income. Net income of the deceased is considered so that survivors can experience the same standard of living they enjoyed before the death of their loved one.

Wrongful death settlements may determine that the defendant is ordered to pay a partial amount; another partial amount may be required of an involved company. In the California case, for example, the truck company was required to pay a portion of the settlement amount.

If you have lost a loved one and suspect you may have a case for a wrongful death lawsuit, the most important step is to seek legal counsel. Contact an experienced Chicago accident attorney today.

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