The death of a loved one is hardly ever easy to process, but it could carry more intense emotions and potentially more expenses if it was caused by someone else, such as a careless driver or someone committing a crime. It may be extremely hard to pick up the pieces and move forward when you have the emotional and financial weight of your loved one’s death on your shoulders.
To help ease this burden, some family members choose to seek legal counsel and pursue justice within the civil court system. If you recently lost someone close to you as a result of someone else’s negligent or intentional act, a Bolingbrook wrongful death lawyer could help you review your options and seek compensation for your financial and emotional losses. En Español.
What is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
A wrongful death lawsuit can be filed on behalf of a person who has died. Such a lawsuit allows family members to seek compensation for their loss of the loved one relative to how that loss impacted them personally. Wrongful death claims can occur as a result of virtually any accident or scenario that—had it not resulted in the death of the victim—could have been grounds for a normal personal injury case.
A wrongful death claim must be filed by a personal representative of the deceased’s estate. Depending on the family circumstances, this could be a spouse or adult child of the decedent, or a parent of a deceased minor child. If a personal representative was not named by the victim prior to their death, the court can appoint a representative.
A Bolingbrook wrongful death attorney could help determine who might be the personal representative of a decedent’s estate so that their family may pursue a wrongful death claim if they choose to do so.
Wrongful Death Cases in Illinois
According to 740 Illinois Compiled Statutes 180, if someone’s death is caused by a wrongful or negligent act, that entitles directly related parties—typically family members—to file a civil wrongful death lawsuit in order to recover their damages.
It is important to note that a wrongful death claim is strictly a civil lawsuit, even if the defendant is also facing charges in criminal court. For example, if someone is killed by a drunk driver, their family could file a wrongful death claim against the driver and take them to civil court. That driver would also likely be charged with a crime and have to go to criminal court for it, but both cases would occur separately and may have different outcomes.
Time Limits for Wrongful Death Claims
As stated in 735 Illinois Compiled Statues 5/13-209, the legal representative of a deceased individual must file a wrongful death lawsuit within one year of the date of that person’s death. If the case is also a personal injury case, the deceased’s representatives may have up to two years to file the initial claim in Illinois civil court.
If a wrongful death or personal injury claim is filed after this time limit expires, it is possible that the court will refuse to hear the case and the representative will not be eligible for compensation. In light of this, it may be critical in any such case to have a wrongful death lawyer in Bolingbrook help ensure that all relevant deadlines are met.
How a Bolingbrook Wrongful Death Attorney Could Help
If you lost a loved one due to the actions or inactions of another party, contact a Bolingbrook wrongful death lawyer at our firm today. Our attorneys are ready to fight on behalf of you and your deceased family member and leave no stone unturned when it comes to reaching a fair settlement or proving your case to a jury in the Illinois civil court system.
While no amount of monetary compensation could ever replace your loved one, being able to fulfill financial obligations and attend to your grief through a successful wrongful death case may help during the years to come. Call us today to discuss your legal options.