A death under any circumstances can be shocking and difficult to process. However, when a death occurs due to the negligent actions of another party, these emotions can run even deeper. Illinois state law recognizes this fact and provides for relatives or representatives of the deceased party to file a wrongful death claim on their behalf. With the assistance of an experienced DuPage County wrongful death lawyer, you may be able to recover economic and non-economic damages on behalf of your deceased family member. Call and schedule an appointment with a caring personal injury attorney to begin outlining potential legal options.
Filing a Wrongful Death Claim in DuPage County
Deaths that occurred because of an auto accident, criminal act, medical malpractice, or even from an unsafe product may lead to a civil wrongful death case. 740 ILCS 180, also referred to as the Illinois Wrongful Death Act, allows an injured party to take legal action and seek to recover their damages if a loved one’s death is the result of a wrongful or negligent act. The law provides that the party or parties that caused the death may be held liable for their actions by an experienced wrongful death lawyer in DuPage County.
Since a deceased victim cannot bring legal action against those responsible for their death, the law provides that certain individuals may do so in their place. Personal representatives or close relatives to the deceased person may bring the claim, including:
- A spouse of the deceased
- A parent of a minor child who is deceased
- An adult child of the deceased
In cases where the deceased party had not appointed a personal representative for their estate, the court may appoint one. Either way, this representative would be tasked with pursuing the wrongful death claim on their surviving family’s behalf and taking care of their estate.
Criminal Versus Civil Wrongful Death Claims
It is important to note that although they are related to the same death, civil and criminal death charges are addressed in separate and distinct proceedings. The state or federal government may bring a criminal charge against the party responsible for a wrongful death. If found guilty, the defendant may face prison time, probation or other criminal penalties.
On the other hand, a family member or personal representative of the deceased party may bring a civil case on their behalf. The defendant’s liability could translate into monetary damages if they are found to be responsible for the death. Even if someone is found not guilty in criminal court for causing a death, they could still be found liable in civil court.
Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death in DuPage County
As with other civil types of cases, Illinois law sets a deadline for filing a wrongful death claim in civil court. According to 735 ILCS 5/13-209, wrongful death cases must be filed within one year of the death or in accordance with the statute of limitations for the underlying type of case, whichever date is later. Cases not filed within the applicable time limit would more than likely not be seen by the court. A dedicated DuPage County wrongful death lawyer could help someone file a claim within the statute of limitations.
Work with a DuPage County Wrongful Death Attorney
A skilled DuPage County wrongful death lawyer may be able to assist you in seeking compensation after the death of a loved one. A compassionate attorney could understand the sensitivity needed to deal with such cases and encourage you to do what is right for your family. When you are ready, set up a private consultation to go over the services available to you.