When is Death Considered “Wrongful” in Illinois?

Wrongful Death | October 25, 2020

Losing a loved one is incredibly difficult. This is particularly true when somebody loses their life due to the actions of other individuals, businesses, or entities. Wrongful death laws in Illinois allow family members of those who have been killed due to the negligence of others to recover compensation for their losses. However, these cases can become incredibly complicated, but it is important to understand when a death is considered “wrongful” in Illinois. If you believe you have a wrongful death case, contact a Chicago wrongful death lawyer today at Seidman, Margulis & Fariman LLP today for a free case evaluation.

Most Common Causes Of Wrongful Death Cases In Illinois

When we turn to 740 Illinois Compiled Statutes 180, we can see that an individual or entity can be held liable in a wrongful death lawsuit and may be held liable for damages for a variety of reasons. The law states that “Whenever the death of a person shall be caused by a 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 individual or entity that caused the death may be liable for damages.

Wrongful death cases arise in various ways in the state of Illinois. Some of the most common ways that wrongful death cases arise include the following:

Anytime the careless or negligent actions of another party caused the death of somebody else, family members of the deceased may be able to recover compensation for their losses.

Who Can File A Wrongful Death Claim In Illinois?

Under Illinois wrongful death laws, all civil claims of wrongful death must be filed by the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate. The personal representative is often a close relative of the deceased person, including:

  • The spouse of the deceased
  • An adult child of the deceased
  • The parent of a minor child who is deceased

If the deceased person died without a personal representative or without an estate plan, then the court may appoint a personal representative. The court typically turns to the family members closest to the person first.

The personal representative will be responsible for pursuing the wrongful death claim as well as carrying out other tasks related to the deceased person’s estate.

Time Limit To File A Wrongful Death Claim In Illinois

The personal representative of a deceased person’s estate in Illinois has a limited amount of time to file a wrongful death claim. A wrongful death claim in Illinois must be filed within the timeframe set by the statute of limitations for the underlying type of case, or within one year from the deceased’s date of death, whichever time frame is later. For example, the Illinois statute of limitations for personal injury claims is two years, so if a person would otherwise have been able to file a personal injury claim had they not died, then the wrongful death claim must be filed within two years from the date the incident occurred.

Types Of Compensation Available For Wrongful Death Claims

There are various types of compensation that may be available to the estate and surviving family members of a person wrongfully killed in Illinois. In Illinois, the wrongful death statute says that a jury may award any damages deemed to be fair in just compensation with respect to the losses resulting from the wrongful death. This can include compensation for:

  • The grief, sorrow, and mental suffering of family members
  • Medical care, treatment, and hospitalization of the deceased
  • The loss of services, care, protection, and assistance the deceased would have provided
  • Loss of future earnings of the deceased
  • Loss of medical benefits, pension, and retirement plans as a result of the death
  • Loss of inheritance caused by the untimely death
  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Pain and suffering damages

The total amount of compensation available in these cases will vary depending on the circumstances related to each particular case. Please work with a skilled Chicago personal injury lawyer to help calculate total losses.

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