In the tragic event that a family member dies as a result of someone’s negligence, the Illinois legislature has enacted two statutes to compensate the decedent’s loved ones for the decedent’s damages and their loss, in the Wrongful Death Act and the Illinois Survival Act.
The Wrongful Death Act creates a cause of action in the name of the representative of the estate of the decedent, for the benefit of the next of kin. Next of kin can include the widow, surviving children, parents or siblings of the decedent. Such a claim can be utilized to recover damages for pecuniary injuries, specifically: loss of companionship, mental anguish, and potential financial contributions of the deceased. Surviving children may recover damages for the loss of instruction, moral training and education that they would have otherwise received had the parent lived.
The Illinois Survival Act permits the next of kin to recover damages for the pain and suffering of the decedent from the time of injury until the time of death. These damages are allowed if it can be proven that the decedent suffered.