Wrongful Death

Wrongful Death Lawsuits

In Illinois, wrongful death is defined as a death caused by “a wrongful act, neglect or default.” See 740 ILCS 180. Wrongful death happens when a person dies due to someone else’s negligence or misconduct. This negligence or misconduct can be another person or entity. Under the Illinois Wrongful Death Act, when a person is killed, survivors (real parties in interest) can bring suit on behalf of the deceased and recover compensation for losses resulting from the impact of the death.

Winning a wrongful death lawsuit requires the party originating the case to prove that the party they are suing acted negligently and that the negligence was the cause of death. Although there may be a criminal prosecution related to the fatality, a wrongful death lawsuit is a civil action that is separate and distinct from any criminal charges. With this, the standard of proof is lower in a civil case than it is in a criminal case for murder or manslaughter.

Wrongful death can be a result of a car accident, pedestrian accident, medical malpractice, manufacturing defects, workplace accident, and more. 

Wrongful Death Lawsuit Recovery

A representative who brings a lawsuit for wrongful death may recover both economic and non-economic damages to be distributed to family members eligible to recover. The following provides damages that can be expected from a successful lawsuit: 

  • Medical expenses 
  • Out-of-Pocket expenses 
  • Funeral expenses 
  • Pain and suffering 
  • Loss of consortium (emotional anguish) 
  • Loss of benefits, income

Initiating a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Under the Illinois Wrongful Death Act, children and surviving spouses are eligible to file a lawsuit and recover damages. In the absence of spouses and children, other relatives such as parents or siblings of the deceased may file the lawsuit. The lawsuit itself is filed in the name of the personal representative (i.e. executor) of the decedent’s estate, rather than the family members.

Timeline for Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

In Illinois, you must file a wrongful death lawsuit within two years from when the death occurred, depending on the type of case. If you do not file within this time period, your case will be barred. While there are some exceptions, this general rule holds for most deaths arising from medical malpractice, personal injuries, or other kinds of misconduct.

Contact us today to get started with a free confidential case assessment by calling ‌866-699-3339 ‌or‌ ‌complete‌ ‌the‌‌ ‌case‌ ‌request‌ ‌form‌.‌

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