Wrongful death lawsuits are a very specific type of legal case. As such, there is a set of laws created in order to cover them in the state of Illinois. While you need an attorney to know the details of all of the laws and how they should be used in wrongful death case, there are some basics about wrongful death in Illinois that you should be aware of.
What is Wrongful Death?
Essentially a wrongful death is a personal injury case where the injuries are so severe that the person dies from them. This prevents the party that was injured from bringing suit themselves. In this case a second party is the one bringing the lawsuit to the court.
Illinois Compiled Statues, section 180 defines a wrongful death as “…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…”
The damages that are claimed due to the wrongful death are paid to the survivors of the injured party since they cannot receive the damage themself.
Timeframe for Filing the Lawsuit
There is not an unlimited amount of time that the wrongful death case can be bought before the court. The state defines the statute of limitations, or the timeframe the case must be filed in, as one year of the date of the deceased person’s death. Notice this is not from the time of the injury. This can be important if the death was due to unrecoverable injuries and did not occur immediately.
If the case is not filed within this timeframe then the court has the option to not hear the case at all. While there are exceptions to this, it is best to file within the one-year time limit and as close to the event as possible.
Civil vs. Criminal
It is very important to point out that a wrongful death lawsuit is a civil case. What this means is that this case is separate from any criminal case that might be ongoing due to the same incident. A wrongful death lawsuit is different than a criminal case and may be filed alongside a criminal case. Civil cases are for monetary damages not any criminal negligence that might have caused the death.
Who Can File the Lawsuit?
The state says that the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate is the ones who should be filing the wrongful death lawsuit. This can be the person that is named in the estate plan as executor or it could be someone close to the deceased such as their spouse, parent of a minor or an adult child.
Wrongful Death Lawyer in Illinois
If you have lost a loved one due to no fault of their own then it is important to have the right lawyer to represent you. Contact Disparti Law Group today to start working on your case with a wrongful death lawyer.