“Wrongful death” refers to a legal concept when a person passes away due to the fault of another person, company, or institution. There are thousands of ways wrongful deaths might occur, though the most common include:
- car accidents
- work-related accidents (such as mining, trucking, or construction accidents)
- product liability
- criminal acts
At Tuite Law, we have seen them all, including the toll these tragic situations take on surviving family members. From our experience as Rockford wrongful death attorneys, we have also seen that many people who are facing the loss of a family member from an accident don’t know what to do or what legal avenues they can pursue compensation. The last thing you want after the loss of a family member is to worry about accruing financial expenses, such as funeral costs and medical bills. Knowing the laws that surround wrongful death in Rockford will help you if a loved one does pass away tragically.
Having these laws at the back of your mind will allow you to focus on grieving and leave the financial, pain and suffering, and emotional worries of your situation to us. See what you need to know about wrongful death and how Rockford personal injury attorneys such as Tuite Law may be able to help.
Filing for a Wrongful Death
The first thing that you should be aware of with wrongful death in Rockford is that you may have a case when an immediate family member passes away due to another person’s negligence or true intent to harm. Such is the case when driving (negligence… mostly) or when involved in a murder case (intentional harm). Whatever the case may be, if your loved one didn’t die of natural causes, you are likely to have a wrongful death case.
Illinois State law states that there are legal time limits in place after the accident when you can actually file a suit. You are only allowed one year after the time of death to file a claim, which, after a traumatic loss, is not a lot of time. Many people lose out on the chance to file wrongful death claims simply because they don’t realize the time frame to do so is so short.
The best solution for this is to consult an attorney immediately after the death to make them aware and to start the paperwork for filing a lawsuit. There is a very large chance that you will not see results from your lawsuit for a few or even several years, but having the paperwork filed will certainly give you the first step. If nothing comes of the suit, it can always be dropped, but not filing is detrimental to your chances of compensation when you really need it.
Who Can File and Why
Wrongful death litigation came out of a realization that families were incurring extreme financial stretches after a death of a loved one. Many times, people have operations after an accident and long hospital stays before passing away, which always costs an incredible amount. Funerals are also very expensive, and wives and children, for example, are often left without a means of income.
Illinois decided to advocate for these types of people bypassing wrongful death laws. They protect family members financially and even provides provisions for their pain, suffering, mental health, and other psychological traumas. This means that any immediate member of a family can file a wrongful death lawsuit, with the intent of securing enough compensation to cover all of the expenses associated with death.
Difference Between Murder and Wrongful Death
If a loved one was murdered by another person, there are actually two legal situations at play. There is a criminal case, and there is a civil case. The criminal case charges the guilty party based on murder, while the civil case charges them based on wrongful death.
One person may be found guilty of wrongful death but not murder, as was the case with OJ Simpson during his notorious court trial, but almost all convicted murder cases also have wrongful death. A murder conviction results in punishments according to the legal justice system, and a wrongful death results in compensation for the harmed party.
Get a Rockford Wrongful Death Attorney
The best thing that you can do for your family and future after the death of a loved one is ensuring that everyone is taken care of. Let an attorney take care of the rest. Knowing these laws will help you make the right decisions in the future and will get you the compensation you deserve.