Litchfield Wrongful Death Attorney
Anyone who needs a highly effective wrongful death attorney is going through a difficult time, even before they engage in legal proceedings. Brandenburg & Rees, LLP, is a seasoned, full-service Illinois law firm experienced in sensitive and complex wrongful death cases. We are well-known for our reputation as effective personal injury attorneys, but we are equally ready to help the families of Litchfield and the surrounding areas when the unthinkable happens.
If you have tragically lost a loved one due to someone else’s negligence or misconduct, our experienced team understands the overwhelming nature of the emotional (and often financial) burdens that the situation presses upon you. During such challenging times, having a compassionate and skilled wrongful death attorney by your side can provide exactly the support and guidance you need. We are dedicated to obtaining justice and fair compensation for our clients.
Understanding Wrongful Death in Illinois
“Wrongful death” is a legal term used to describe any situation in which an individual’s life is ended due to a wrongful act or neglect by another party. From state to state, this may sometimes be defined differently depending on which state the death occurred in.
In Illinois, the Illinois Wrongful Death Act (740 Illinois Combined Statutes 180/0.01) governs these situations, outlining both the criteria for qualifying a death as “wrongful” and the rights that surviving family members have for pursuing a settlement or judgment for damages due to the loss of their family member. Before suing an individual, business, or other legal entity for wrongful death, it is essential that you have a clear understanding of all the legal and criminal implications of a wrongful death case (or that you work with a lawyer who does).
Here are some critical points that can help put the concept of “Wrongful Death” in Illinois into its legal context:
- Civil Liability: Wrongful death cases are primarily civil matters, regardless of whether t there is a related criminal case taking place, so they typically involve seeking monetary damages from a responsible party (or parties) rather than working to punish those parties or extract recompense in some other, non-fiduciary way. The burden of proof in civil cases is based on what is legally known as a “preponderance of evidence,” meaning that the plaintiff (i.e., the party suing on behalf of the deceased) must provide evidence that establishes it as being more likely than not that the defendant’s actions (or negligent inactions) caused the death.
- Statute of Limitations: In Illinois, as in other states, there are specific time limits for taking legal action. This can vary from situation to situation, but the statute of limitations for wrongful death cases is a standard 2 calendar years from the date of the death in question. Working with an experienced wrongful death attorney is a great way to help ensure compliance with all court-mandated deadlines related to the process. Note that exceptions and extensions may apply in certain, rare cases with unusual circumstances. Your attorney can help you determine if you are eligible for such an exception or help you make your case for an extension to the court.
- Criminal Implications: In some wrongful death cases, there may also be concurrent criminal charges. It’s important to understand that civil and criminal actions are separate processes, though they can sometimes work on a parallel timeline and involve many of the same parties. Your wrongful death attorney may be able to advise you regarding any appearances in criminal court or your role in any concurrent criminal case.
How a Wrongful Death Lawyer Can Help
While every American is guaranteed equal access to the mechanisms of the law by the U.S. Constitution, the plain truth is that having a qualified and reputable attorney can greatly improve your chances of successfully winning a wrongful death case.
Here are a few of the ways that the knowledgeable wrongful death team at Brandenburg & Rees, LLP, is prepared to help with your wrongful death case:
- Customized Legal Guidance: The wrongful death attorneys at Brandenburg & Rees, LLP, can leverage their extensive knowledge of the Illinois Wrongful Death Act and local court systems to provide you with seasoned guidance throughout the entire legal process. We know that each situation is different, so we take a compassionate and collaborative approach, ensuring that your family’s unique story is heard and considered when developing your comprehensive legal strategy for seeking wrongful death damages.
- Initial Consultations: Any worthwhile attorney should offer to start the process by evaluating your case through a consultation. During this initial process, the attorney and their team will listen to your side of the story, then move on to assess any preliminary evidence available, note any potential for liability on your end, and help you understand your rights and options for moving forward. The initial consultation is also the time to address any questions or concerns about your attorney’s billing structure–most work on an hourly rate, while others will charge a percentage of any settlement or judgment received, and still other firms may offer certain services at a flat rate fee. Any reputable attorney will be upfront about their fees and billing structure during the initial consultation.
- Calculating the Appropriate Damages to Seek: It is literally impossible to put a dollar amount on the untimely death of a loved one, and yet, to seek wrongful death damages in court, this distasteful task must be accomplished. Reduce emotional labor on your end by leaving these calculations to the wrongful death attorneys at Brandenburg & Rees, LLP. An experienced attorney knows to consider all the various factors that go into determining the financial value of the damages suffered by you and other loved ones of the deceased. We can seek full compensation for medical expenses, funeral costs, lost income, and the emotional pain and suffering you have endured.
- Investigating and Gathering Quality Evidence: Your attorney’s job is to make sure that your case is as strong as possible, and often this requires collecting and analyzing evidence, gathering testimony, or even bringing on third-party specialists to act as expert witnesses for your wrongful death case. A good attorney knows how to conduct a thorough investigation to support your wrongful death claim, such as by obtaining medical records, police reports, witness statements, or other relevant documentation.
- Negotiating: Insurance companies can sometimes be party to wrongful death suits, or there may be life insurance policies relevant to the death. In either case, dealing with insurance companies, and trying to get a fair payout, can be extremely overwhelming. Often, someone mourning the tragic demise of a loved one is in no condition to take on this additional headache. The wrongful death lawyers at Brandenburg & Rees, LLP, can handle all relevant communications and negotiations with insurance companies and other attorneys, ensuring that you can focus on your healing and receive fair compensation when the process has come to its final resolution.
- Aggressive Representation: If a fair settlement cannot be reached through out-of-court negotiation, the wrongful death team at Brandenburg & Rees, LLP, is prepared to represent you aggressively in litigation proceedings. Whether your wrongful death claim stems from a workplace accident, a catastrophic car crash, medical malpractice or some other scenario, we will develop an airtight and fully customized strategy to secure maximum compensation, and then see it through regardless of any obstacles that arise.
Brandenburg & Rees, LLP – Comprehensive Legal Services for Wrongful Deaths, Personal Injuries, and Accidents
Brandenburg & Rees, LLP, is not only your go-to wrongful death attorney for Litchfield and the surrounding areas, but we are also a full-service personal injury firm.
It is not uncommon for a wrongful death suit to be tied up in other criminal or civil matters. In such complex and tense cases, you may feel the need to work with an attorney whose knowledge extends beyond wrongful death and into other areas of the law. Thankfully, Brandenburg & Rees, LLP, has broad experience working in courtrooms and negotiations of all sorts under a wide variety of different circumstances.
Here are just a few of the other areas in which we can help the residents of Litchfield with legal needs. This has given us a broader perspective that we can also apply to your wrongful death case:
- Personal Injury – We have a record of success in litigating and negotiating for substantial settlements for slip-and-fall accidents, car crashes, medical malpractice, and many other types of legally actionable injuries. If the life of your family member was tragically lost in a situation like one of these, we have the experience to aggressively pursue compensation from those responsible.
- Auto Accidents – Some types of roadway accidents, such as trucking accidents and motorcycle accidents, require highly specific knowledge of niche transportation laws when it’s time to sort things out in the courtroom. The crash team at Brandenburg & Rees, LLP, has the knowledge and experience necessary to develop a winning strategy for even the most complex car crash cases, even those involving the death of a loved one.
How a Wrongful Death Claim Works
If you are considering filing a wrongful death claim against an individual or business, it’s likely that you are under a great deal of stress and have many questions about the process. To help you understand how a wrongful death claim usually works, here is a basic outline for these cases:
- Consultation – Your first step in seeking recompense for your tragedy is to find a good lawyer. This is done through the process of having one or more initial consultations with qualified attorneys who are licensed to practice in your area. During this initial conference, be prepared to discuss the circumstances surrounding the death and any evidence that is available to you.
- Building a Case – The work of gathering evidence and building a legal strategy then begins. Depending on how much you want to be involved, this can be a highly collaborative process. Other clients prefer to focus on their family and the loved one’s other survivors while letting their attorney take care of everything on the legal side.
- Filing the Claim – The process then moves on to the act of actually filing the formal petition with your local court. This petition is a formal legal complaint that outlines the legal claims, the facts of the case, and the damages sought.
- Discovery and Pretrial – At this point, the parties are legally obligated to share certain information so that the respective attorneys can evaluate the case and continue building their legal strategies.
- Negotiation and/or Settlement – Before any actual trial hearing is conducted, the parties often endeavor to reach a settlement out of court, through negotiation. This is often cheaper, faster, and more discreet than a court trial for everyone involved. Another option, in some cases, may be mediation, where a qualified third party attempts to help the plaintiff and defendant reach a mutually acceptable settlement.
- Trial – If a settlement cannot be reached out of court through negotiation or mediation, the case will then move to trial. There, arguments are made before a judge, who will then hand down a legally binding verdict. This will determine whether the defendant is indeed liable for the death and, if so, order the amount of damages to be awarded.
- Appeal – Either party can then choose to appeal this verdict or certain other aspects of the case. Commonly, a defendant who has been found liable for the wrongful death will then make an appeal to adjust the damages downward. Your attorney can continue fighting for you throughout this process to ensure that you and your family retain the maximum judgment awarded.
Choose Brandenburg & Rees, LLP, for Your Wrongful Death Case
At Brandenburg & Rees, LLP, we understand the immense pain and loss that go with wrongful death cases. Our compassionate, skilled, and experienced team is dedicated to providing effective and personalized legal representation to help you through the complexities of the legal system at this difficult time. Our attorneys and support staff have a proven record of success in obtaining substantial settlements and positive outcomes for our clients.
If you have lost a loved one in what may be a legally actionable wrongful death incident, please do not hesitate to reach out to our firm for a no-obligation consultation. We are ready to listen to your story, answer your preliminary questions, and help you file your wrongful death claim if you should choose to move forward with our services.