If your loved one was killed in a work-related accident, you need to seek legal counsel to file a workers compensation wrongful death benefit claim.


A 19-year-old man has died after an industrial accident at a railyard in Aurora on Thursday morning, when he was unloading a rail car and large wooden slats fell on him pinning him under the large woodpile.  Firefighters and paramedics “quickly used rescue equipment to lift the wood panels off the man, Aurora police say but it was too late. The railcar was on rails owned by BNSF Railway, so officers from BNSF police responded to the scene and took the lead in the investigation. Aurora police will continue to assist, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is conducting their investigation. It seems that it was a tragi accident with no evidence of foul play.

Worker’s compensation versus wrongful death claim.

Depending on his work status in the rail yard, his family could possible sue his employer, the rail yard or make a workers compensation claim, – when a worker is killed on-the-job in the state—as were 163 workers in Illinois in 2014, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics—workers’ compensation insurance pays death benefits to the deceased worker’s surviving beneficiaries.

However, surviving family members may recover death benefits under workers’ compensation insurance and/or file a third party liability wrongful death suit against an at-fault party if there was one.  A third party wrongful death suit is a civil action that is filed against an outside party (someone other than the employer), and that alleges that the third party was responsible for the worker’s death.

Death benefits versus damages.

Death benefits under workers’ compensation insurance do not pay for specific losses; rather, they offer monthly payments, and are paid for 25 years or up to $500,000, whichever is greater. Funeral expenses up to $8,000 are also paid.  Wrongful death benefits in a civil action, are comprehensive. Damages that surviving family members can claim are based on: the value of support and services the deceased person provided to the surviving family; loss of companionship, guidance, and protection provided by the deceased person; mental and emotional pain and suffering due to the loss of a family member, and medical or funeral expenses any surviving family member has paid for the deceased person.

The deceased person’s estate may also recover certain types of damages. These include: lost wages, benefits, and other earnings, including the value of lost earnings that the deceased person could reasonably have been expected to make in their lifetime; lost earnings the estate could reasonably have been expected to collect if the deceased person had lived; and medical and funeral expenses that were paid by the estate directly.

What should I know about Illinois law?

Legal actions initiated to seek damages for personal injury including work accidents must be navigated within the framework of Illinois Laws by adherence to:

  • Illinois has a standard statute of limitations (a designated time-period for filing a claim) of two years from the date of the accident for an injury, and five years from the date of the accident for injury or damage to your property
  • Illinois has a “Comparative Negligence Law” where the percentage of your fault will determine how much compensation you may be entitled to recover.
  • Illinois caps damages in personal injury cases. Illinois courts allow damages for partial fault of less than 50% and imposes a cap on compensatory damages when cases are filed for medical malpractice injury cases and no punitive damages are allowed.

Special Circumstances Arise for Claims Brought Against a City, County, or State Entity.

If your injury or accident was caused by the negligence of an Illinois city or state agency you have one year to file a case for compensation; the time limit to sue the state is two years but you must file a formal claim within one year to sue.

Seek legal counsel.

In Chicago Illinois, you should immediately contact an experienced, knowledgeable, dedicated personal injury attorney at Budin Law Offices, who can assist you in your railway accident claim for damages. You will need legal advice to navigate your way through the process of seeking damages specific to a work place wrongful death claim.


Budin Law Offices

1 N. LaSalle Street, Suite 2165

Chicago, IL 60602

Phone: 312-377-0700

Fax: 312-377-0707

Email: [email protected]