Understanding Wrongful Death Laws in Illinois

Illinois accident attorneyThe loss of a loved one can be a devastating blow to spouses, parents, children, and other family members, especially when the death could have been prevented. In addition to coping with their grief, families must address funeral and burial arrangements, the inheritance of property and assets, and other legal issues surrounding their loved one’s death. During this difficult time, finances can be strained, and families often struggle to make ends meet.

In cases of wrongful death, Illinois law allows a deceased person’s survivors to bring a lawsuit against the person responsible and recover damages. In these cases, it is important to understand the law surrounding wrongful death claims.

Defining Wrongful Death

Illinois statutes define wrongful death as “the death of a person caused by wrongful act, neglect, or default.” This covers both intentional and unintentional actions by individual people and organizations or companies. The law also states that the damages in a wrongful death lawsuit are for the “exclusive benefit” of the deceased person’s surviving spouse and next of kin.

Requirements for Filing a Claim

A wrongful death claim can be filed by the deceased person’s personal representative. This is typically a spouse or close family member (including adoptive parents or children), but it may also be a person appointed by the court to manage a deceased person’s estate. Wrongful death claims must be filed within two years after the date of death. In cases when the death is the result of someone’s intentional violent conduct, this statute of limitations is extended to five years.

Types of Damages

In a wrongful death lawsuit, a deceased person’s loved ones can seek compensation for several types of damages, including:

  • Loss of support - This includes the loss of income that the deceased person would have provided to their family, as well as job-related benefits, pensions, or Social Security benefits.
  • Loss of services - This describes the services that a deceased person would have provided for their spouse, or the instruction and education a parent would have provided to their children.
  • Loss of consortium - Also referred to as “loss of society,” this refers to the value of a deceased person’s relationship with their spouse or family members, including love, support, protection, and companionship.
  • Expenses - Damages can include medical expenses incurred prior to a person’s death and expenses for their funeral and burial.
  • Emotional damages - Family members can seek compensation for “grief, sorrow, and mental suffering.”

Contact a Hinsdale Wrongful Death Attorney

If your loved one has died because of someone’s negligent or intentional actions, the experienced attorneys of Martoccio & Martoccio can help you recover damages that will allow you to maintain financial security following your loss. Contact our DuPage County wrongful death lawyers today at 630-920-8855.

 

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=2059&ChapterID=57

http://www.illinoiscourts.gov/CircuitCourt/CivilJuryInstructions/31.00.pdf

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phone (630) 920-8855
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