Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Illinois
Losing a loved one is extremely difficult under any circumstances, but it can be particularly devastating to learn of a loved one’s death when it results from someone else’s reckless or careless behavior. When a spouse or parent leaves the house to go to work or to run errands, we often expect that they will arrive home again safely. However, workplace injuries, auto crashes, and other accidents happen more often than most of us would like to think. When someone you love sustains fatal injuries in an accident caused by another party’s negligence, it is important to learn more about wrongful death law in Illinois and how you can file a lawsuit to seek compensation.
At Tuite Law, we know how difficult it can be to even think about filing a lawsuit after losing a loved one in a devastating accident. We also know that the loss of a loved one can put families in extremely tough financial situations, and filing a wrongful death lawsuit may be able to provide you with some financial security while also allowing you to hold the liable party accountable for your loved one’s fatal accident.
Important Issues in an Illinois Wrongful Death Lawsuit
There are many important issues in every wrongful death claim in Illinois, and it is important to think carefully about how a wrongful death attorney can help with every phase of your case, including but not limited to:
- Wrongful death basics;
- Potential damages; and
- Proving fault.
When you think about the basics of wrongful death law, you should understand how this area of the law arises out of personal injury law. Generally speaking, wrongful death law is similar to personal injury law in that it allows an injury victim (or his or her survivors) to hold a careless or reckless party responsible for a serious accident. In a personal injury case, the injury victim can file a personal injury lawsuit—which is a civil suit—against the liable party in order to seek damages for losses. Wrongful death law works similarly, but instead of the injury victim filing a claim, it is as if one of her survivors steps into her shoes in order to hold the responsible party accountable.
The Illinois Wrongful Death Act (740 ILCS 180/) governs wrongful death claims in Illinois. Personal injury claims and wrongful death cases can have some similar damages awards, but there are distinct types of damages that survivor can be eligible to receive in a wrongful death case. In addition, there is a specific statute of limitations for wrongful death cases. Illinois law stipulates that wrongful death lawsuits must be filed within one year from the date of your loved one’s death, or else you can lose your right to file a claim.
In order to obtain compensation in a wrongful death lawsuit, you will also need to prove that the defendant was at fault for the death. In other words, you will need to show that the defendant’s careless or negligent behavior caused the death of your loved one. An experienced Illinois wrongful death lawyer can ensure that you build a strong case.