Rockford Wrongful Death Lawyers

Rockford Wrongful Death Lawyers

Wrongful death is the term used when someone causes the death of another person. The death may be caused by the actions of someone or by a failure to act. Since the person killed (decedent) cannot file suit or collect damages, the family or representatives of the estate instead have the option to file a civil lawsuit. The intent is to compensate family members who have suffered monetarily and emotionally from the death. Damages can be assessed for lost wages and benefits, loss of companionship, and emotional pain and suffering caused by the trauma.

A defendant can only be held responsible for a wrongful death if it can be proven that the defendant’s conduct was the cause of the death. It must be proven that the death would not have occurred without the defendant’s act (or due to the defendant's lack of action).

If it can be shown that the decedent was partially responsible for his or her own death, then any monetary compensation awarded will be reduced by his or her percentage of the fault. Also, if the decedent failed to seek appropriate medical care and that failure led to his or her death, there may be no grounds for a wrongful death claim or a reduction in damages could be applied.

In a case of wrongful death, damages are assessed to compensate family members for their losses. There are many ways in which damages can be calculated. Since damages can be awarded in a number of areas, it is important to examine each one carefully.

The most obvious loss in a case of wrongful death is the actual expense occasioned by medical and funeral or burial expenses. These are usually easy to determine.

Less obvious but equally important is the loss of future earnings and benefits, as well as the loss of companionship. These damages are more difficult to calculate and include anticipating the lifespan and earnings of the decedent, as well as the relationship to remaining family members.

Loss of companionship is very difficult to calculate since it is completely subjective. It is a measure of the emotional pain and suffering experienced by the survivors.

A final area of damages to consider is punitive damages. This is an amount awarded to punish the person who caused the death rather than to compensate for a specific loss. It can typically only be awarded when the action of the defendant was intentional or grossly negligent.

If you or a loved one is in need of legal assistance, call Attorney Tim Mahoney at 815-656-4600 or email him at The initial consultation is free of charge, and if we agree to handle your case, we will work on a contingency fee basis, which means that we get paid for our services only if you recover monetary compensation.

In many cases, a wrongful death lawsuit must be filed before an applicable expiration date, known as a statute of limitations. Please call right away to ensure that you do not waive your right to potential compensation.