Losing a family member or loved one is painful. It’s especially tragic when that loss is due to wrongful death. At Wilson Law Office, our knowledgeable and experienced lawyers are here to help you recover following an untimely passing.
We will assist you in pursuing your legal claim with proficiency and care. We understand what it takes to navigate the legal process and help you reach a favorable outcome. We believe you should have access to swift answers and compassionate service.
What Is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
A wrongful death lawsuit involves filing a claim against someone who negligently or intentionally caused someone else’s death. According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, motor vehicle accidents are the most common cause of wrongful deaths. Other fatal events include product liability, animal attacks, medical malpractice, and workplace accidents.
A wrongful death lawsuit allows victims to seek damages and closure. Victims comprise anyone from the deceased’s estate, such as a spouse, child, or parents. Illinois has two wrongful death laws: the Illinois Wrongful Death Act and the Illinois Survival Act.
The Illinois Wrongful Death Act lets victims sue for financial losses. For instance, a wife’s death may leave the rest of her family without a source of income. The Illinois Survival Act covers economic and non-economic damages, such as emotional trauma, pain, and suffering.
How Do I Prove a Wrongful Death?
At Wilson Law Office, we must prove four elements to win your wrongful death case. First, we need to demonstrate that there was a duty. That means the defendant had a reasonable responsibility to avoid hurting other people.
Second, we must show that the defendant breached this duty. They did not respect the legally established obligation, as when, for instance, a drunk driver is involved in a fatal car crash.
Third, we prove causation, meaning that the defendant’s actions must be shown to have led to the breach. In the example above, this would mean proving that the motor vehicle accident in question would not have occurred had the defendant not been intoxicated. The legal phrase for this is “but for.”
Finally, we outline the wrongful death damages. We provide evidence that you sustained economic and non-economic damages because of the death. Your loved one may have incurred $15,000 worth of medical bills in the hospital, on top of causing significant emotional harm with their passing.
How Do I File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
A personal representative from Wilson Law Office will file the wrongful death lawsuit on your behalf. Many victims appoint a representative in their will. If the document does not include one, the local probate court in Illinois can select one.
The lawsuit covers the harm that the defendant caused and the damages you want to recover. You can make a separate claim for funeral expenses. Some of the things you can recover in a wrongful death lawsuit include:
- Loss of income
- Medical treatment
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of inheritance
- Loss of care
- Loss of consortium
- Funeral and burial expenses
Economic damages are more straightforward to recover than non-economic ones. For example, you might have medical bills detailing the cost of hospital treatments. Make sure to keep any receipts you have related to expenses. Courtrooms in Illinois measure non-economic damages in various ways but typically use a stipend or multiplier method to compensate victims.
What Is the Statute of Limitations in Illinois for Wrongful Death Lawsuits?
The statute of limitations for wrongful death lawsuits varies from state to state. In Illinois, people must file claims within two years of their loved one’s death. The clock starts running the day they die and ends exactly two years later.
There are some exceptions to the rule. First, a child can file lawsuits several years after the death. They can file a lawsuit within two years of turning 18.
Second, survivors can also file within two years of learning about a death if the passing was not readily knowable. They cannot file a lawsuit more than four years after the event. Finally, anyone suing a government agency in Illinois must do so within one year.
How Long Do Wrongful Death Lawsuits Take?
Wrongful death lawsuits typically take one to four years to complete. That is not always the case, though. Some cases reach a settlement or verdict within a few months. It all depends on the evidence and individuals in the lawsuit.
Most insurance companies prefer a quick settlement so that they can move forward with business. At Wilson Law Office, we won’t settle until we fully understand the circumstances surrounding the death and its impact. That way, we can make sure that your damages match the compensation you want.
Contact Wilson Law Office Today
If a loved one dies because of someone else’s negligence, contact Wilson Law Office. We will work with you to handle all the necessary legal matters so that you can focus on more important issues at home. Give us a call at (815) 408-6330 or email us at [email protected] to schedule your consultation today.
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