This is the next post in a series of articles discussing wrongful death cases in Peoria, Illinois. My previous article provided an overview of the topics to be discussed throughout this series. It also stressed the importance of retaining experienced personal injury counsel to represent your interests. Doing so as soon as possible after an accident can help ensure that your family’s interests are represented in each phase of the wrongful death proceeding. In this article, I will discuss an issue that commonly arises in wrongful death cases: proceeding when multiple defendants bear some responsibility for an accident. If you have lost a loved one, contact my office today to schedule a consultation.
Identifying all responsible parties can help ensure the recovery of damages in an Illinois wrongful death case
Wrongful death cases can be far more complicated than other types of personal injury matters. One reason for this is that wrongful death cases often involve multiple defendants. Serious accidents involving commercial entities, such as semi-truck crashes or construction site incidents, for example, may result from the negligence of an employee, employer, leasing company, property owner, or others. In Illinois, for example, employers are generally responsible for the actions of their employees. Owners or leasing agents may be responsible for maintaining safe equipment or commercial workplaces. It is essential, therefore, to identify all potentially responsible parties after a catastrophic accident occurs to ensure that the victim’s surviving family members recover the full amount of damages to which they may be entitled.
Consider the following example. A young man is killed when a tractor-trailer crosses a double yellow line and hits his oncoming vehicle. His surviving wife and children have suffered an incredible loss, including the victim’s potential lifelong earnings as a physician. Their financial damages are in the multi-million range. Their attorney investigates the crash and the parties involved to identify the possible defendants. The driver of the truck was clearly negligent. The driver alone, however, would never be financially able to compensate the family fully. Under Illinois law, his employer is also vicariously liable for the acts of its employee and is therefore also a defendant. Upon further investigation, the attorney learns that the driver had multiple safety violations that the employer did not address. The employer may also be held responsible for negligent hiring or supervision of the employee. By pursuing the employer as an additional defendant, the family may be fairly compensated. The potential defendants and possible legal theories underlying their responsibility will differ based on the facts of each specific incident.
An experienced Peoria attorney can investigate a wrongful death matter to identify all defendants
An experienced attorney will conduct a thorough investigation to ensure that all responsible parties and their insurance companies are identified. Failure to handle this phase in a wrongful death case properly can result in the loss of key evidence and a significant reduction in damages recovered by the surviving family members. If you need assistance with such a matter, contact my office to speak with a Peoria lawyer.
Our firm also serves clients in the Illinois cities of Bloomington, Eureka, Galesburg, Morton, Normal, Pekin, Springfield, and Washington.