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My Spouse Was Killed in a Drunk Driving Accident. What Are My Legal Options?

Posted on in Wrongful Death

Rolling Meadows personal injury attorneyThe death of a spouse is one of the most heartbreaking experiences a person could ever go through. The loss of a husband or wife due to old age or an unavoidable illness is tragic but losing your spouse to the irresponsible actions of another person is especially devastating. If your spouse has passed away from injuries sustained in a fatal drunk driving accident, you have the option of bringing a civil action against the drunk driver.

Illinois Wrongful Death Claims for Fatal Car Accidents

If a driver under the influence of alcohol or drugs causes a fatal car accident, the driver will likely face significant criminal penalties. DUI resulting in great bodily harm or death is a felony offense in Illinois. The person who caused the fatal accident may be imprisoned for up to 14 years as a result of his or her recklessness. Although criminal charges against the person who caused your loved one’s accident may provide a sense of justice, criminal charges do not help alleviate the financial burden created by your spouse’s death.

A wrongful death claim is a civil claim that may be used to recover financial compensation after the loss of a loved one. In Illinois, a wrongful death is one that is caused by the careless, reckless, negligent, or intentionally malicious actions of another party. If your loved one’s death was caused by a drunk driver, you will most likely not be required to prove that the driver acted negligently to receive compensation. He or she may be considered “negligent per se” or automatically at fault for the accident.

Damages You May Be Entitled to After Losing a Spouse in a Drunk Driving Accident

The losses experienced by surviving family members are referred to as “damages” in a wrongful death case. You may be entitled to compensation for your past, present, and future damages. You may be entitled to compensation for:

  • The loss of your spouse’s income and employment benefits
  • The value of lost domestic services performed by your spouse such as homemaking and childcare
  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Medical bills resulting from your spouse’s final injury

You may also be compensated for the non-economic damages you suffered because of your spouse’s death. You may receive compensation for:

  • The grief and mental anguish you experienced because of your loss
  • Loss of consortium or loss of the marriage relationship
  • The loss of parental guidance and nurturing experienced by your children

Contact a Palatine Fatal Car Accident Lawyer

At Newland & Newland, LLP, we understand that the unexpected death of a spouse is a shockingly painful experience to go through. We are committed to helping you understand your legal options and pursue the compensation you and your family deserve. Call our office at 847-797-8000 and schedule a free, confidential consultation with a Schaumburg wrongful death attorney to learn more about how we can help you.




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