Death is not always a natural occurrence. Sometimes, negligent people are to blame for the loss of a loved one. In such cases, an attorney can help surviving family members get justice.
A wrongful death might occur when someone passes away as a direct result of someone else’s wrongful actions or negligent behavior. Remember, wrongful deaths are not always connected with criminal offenses. You have a limited time to bring a wrongful death claim, and the clock starts ticking away on the day your loved one passes. Generally, a claim must be filed by a personal representative of the deceased person’s estate but may be filed on behalf of family members like spouses and children. Damages may encompass financial losses related to the loss of your family member and non-economic injuries like emotional anguish or the loss of consortium or companionship.
Talk to our Chicago wrongful death attorneys about how your family can get damages for your loss by calling the Rhatigan Law Offices at (312) 578-8502.
What Constitutes a Wrongful Death Claim in Waukegan, IL?
A wrongful death claim may arise when a family member passes away in an accident caused by someone else or by some intentional act. According to 740 I.L.C.S. § 180/1, such a claim may arise when a wrongful act, omission, or neglect causes a person’s passing. The wrongful action or event that caused your loved one’s passing must be so that the deceased person could have filed a legal claim for damages on their own behalf if they had survived.
For example, car accidents frequently come up in wrongful death claims. If your loved one were injured in a car accident, they would be able to sue the other driver who caused the accident and make them pay for their damages. If your loved one died as a direct result of the accident, there may instead be a wrongful death claim against the negligent driver.
Exactly what makes a wrongful act or omission is vague and not specified by statute. Generally, some form of negligence may be involved. Common accidents like auto collisions, dangerously defective products, and even slip and falls might cause death and be the grounds for a wrongful death case. Intentional acts of harm may also be grounds for a wrongful death claim. It may also lead to criminal charges for the defendant.
When to Bring a Wrongful Death Claim in Waukegan, IL
While you and your family certainly deserve time to grieve the loss of your loved one, you must also be aware of the impending deadline on your claim. In Illinois, under 740 I.L.C.S. § 180/2(d), our wrongful death lawyers have only 2 years from the date of your loved one’s passing to help you file a wrongful death claim. This deadline is longer in cases involving criminal acts of violence. In such cases, plaintiffs have 5 years to bring a civil lawsuit for damages against the defendant.
Remember, the statute of limitations in a wrongful death claim begins to run from the date of death, not necessarily the date of the injuries. For example, if your loved one was injured in a car crash but did not pass away from their injuries for 3 weeks, the statute of limitations on your wrongful death claim would start 3 weeks after the accident. This is very important in cases where the deceased person may have lingered for a while after being injured or passed from something slow-acting, like an illness.
If the deadline has expired, talk to a lawyer about whether you can have the statute of limitations tolled. Tolling the statute allows plaintiffs to pause the clock on their case under very specific conditions. For example, a child who wants to file a claim for the wrongful death of a parent may have the statute of limitations tolled until they are 18 years old.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Case in Waukegan, IL?
One of the trickiest aspects of a wrongful death claim is figuring out who needs to be involved. When someone passes away, they might leave behind a whole host of family members, friends, and loved ones who might want justice. Only a select group of people may be party to a wrongful death claim.
According to 740 I.L.C.S. § 180/2(a), a personal representative of the deceased person’s estate must bring a wrongful death action. Depending on the situation, the personal representative may be named by the deceased person in their will or appointed by the court. It is often a family member but does not have to be.
The personal representative files the case for the benefit of the deceased person’s family. Specifically, the claim may be for the benefit of the deceased person’s spouse and next of kin. This typically includes children but may extend to other family members in some cases. Generally, people close to the deceased person but unrelated by marriage or blood may not be a part of the case. However, if the deceased person had no family whatsoever, you should still speak to a lawyer about the possibility of filing a case for your friend.
Who Claims Damages in a Waukegan, IL Wrongful Death Case?
While a personal representative files the case, damages may be for the benefit of various family members, including spouses and children. How these people recover damages may vary from case to case. Under 740 I.L.C.S. § 180/2(b), the amount of damages awarded in a wrongful death case may be distributed according to the court.
The court may determine how much each person is awarded based on their dependency on the deceased person. The closer you were to the deceased person, the more damages you might be entitled to. Spouses and children tend to take priority in these considerations.
Contact Our Wrongful Death Lawyers in Waukegan, IL About Your Claims
Talk to our wrongful death attorneys about how your family can get damages for your loss by calling the Rhatigan Law Offices at (312) 578-8502.