If your loved one's death was the result of someone else's carelessness or recklessness, contact us today.
Wrongful death claims in Illinois: Grieving families have legal rights
A wrongful death claim is a civil suit for financial damages sustained by the decedent (the person who died) and his or her loved ones against the person responsible for the death. Depending on the circumstances, the State of Illinois may also pursue criminal charges, but your wrongful death claim is distinct from the criminal case. You may be able to win your wrongful death case even if the responsible person is acquitted of criminal charges because the burden of proof is lower in civil court than in criminal court.
The personal representative of the decedent's estate has at least one year from the date of the death to file a wrongful death lawsuit. If there is an underlying case with a longer statute of limitations, that statute applies instead. For instance, if your loved one died as a result of injuries sustained in a car accident, the deadline is either one year from the date of death or two years from the date of the accident, whichever is later.
Generally, a wrongful death action must be brought within two years of the date of the decedent's death. However, every case is different and this statute of limitations may be tolled in certain circumstances. Damages under the Illinois Wrongful Death Act are limited to those that can fairly and justly compensate the surviving spouse and next of kin for their pecuniary injuries resulting from the death.
In most instances, a wrongful death claim is accompanied by a "survival" action brought pursuant to the Illinois Survival Statute. Survival actions allow for the recovery of the decedent's lost wages (calculated from the time of injury to the time of death), destruction of one's personal property, conscious pain and suffering, and even punitive damages.
Wrongful death cases are complex, and experience matters
Wrongful death claims are always high-stakes cases. Unfortunately, that means the insurance company may see your situation as a liability rather than a tragedy. Adjusters will look for any opportunity to reduce the value of your claim, even if it means arguing that your loved one was responsible for his or her own death.
An attorney from our firm can handle the insurance on your behalf so that you can focus on caring for your family during a difficult time. From the moment you retain us until the day your case is resolved, no matter how long it takes, we'll be fighting for your family.
We would be honored to meet with you for a free consultation. Give us a call today at (866) 604-9075.