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Frequently Asked Questions About Wrongful Death Lawsuits in Illinois

 Posted on January 17, 2019 in Wrongful Death

Winnebago County wrongful death lawyersA wrongful death suit is a beneficial legal tool which family members of a deceased person can use to collect compensation. Illinois law explains, "Whenever the death of a person shall be caused by wrongful act, neglect or default, and the act, neglect or default is such as would, if death had not ensued, have entitled the party injured to maintain an action and recover damages." If you have lost a loved one due to the negligence of another party, read on to learn about wrongful death claims in Illinois.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?

In Illinois, only the personal representative a deceased person can file a wrongful death claim. The personal representative represents the deceased person’s estate. He or she can be a close relative of the individual who passed away such as a spouse, parent, or adult child. If the deceased person, or decedent, did not appoint a personal representative before he or she passed away, the court is authorized to make this decision.

Is a Wrongful Death Claim a Criminal Matter?

Many people misunderstand the difference between a criminal case and a wrongful death claim. Wrongful death suits are civil claims, meaning they do not take place in criminal court. Wrongful death lawsuits only address liability in terms of financial damages. Criminal cases are brought by the state or federal government, not by a personal representative. Often, wrongful death cases occur along with criminal cases, but a criminal prosecution is not necessary in order to pursue a wrongful death claim in civil court.

What Are the Damages in a Wrongful Death Case?

In Illinois, damages in a wrongful death case are awarded "for the exclusive benefit of the surviving spouse and next of kin of the deceased person." Put another way, the financial compensation received in a wrongful death lawsuit are intended to help the decedent’s surviving family members. Damages can include things like funeral and burial expenses as well as mental suffering and loss of care or companionship. Compensation is distributed by the court to the decedent’s loved ones based on their degree of dependency on the decedent.

How Long Do I Have to File a Wrongful Death Claim in Illinois?

In Illinois, the "statute of limitations" refers to the time limitations for pursuing certain legal actions. For personal injury lawsuits, the statute of limitations is two years from the date of the accident. If you have lost a loved one due to the carelessness or negligence of another, you will only have two years to file a wrongful death suit.

Contact a Compassionate Freeport Wrongful Death Attorney

To schedule your completely cost-free consultation with an experienced Rockford wrongful death lawyer, contact us today by calling 815-215-7561. We will review your case and help you explore your options for taking appropriate action.




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