There’s nothing worse than suddenly losing a family member. Survivors are understandably angry and frustrated when this kind of tragedy occurs due to another’s recklessness.

The Aurora personal injury attorneys with Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates can help you obtain justice on behalf of your loved one. If you know or suspect someone else’s negligence is to blame, please contact us as soon as possible by calling (800) 985-1819 or using our online form for a free consultation.

Aurora wrongful death attorneys

What does Illinois define as wrongful death?

The Illinois Wrongful Death Act states that when a person passes away due to someone else’s wrongful or negligent act, the surviving family members may appoint a representative who can file a lawsuit against the liable party for damages.

“Damages” are the financial and emotional losses associated with the deceased person’s untimely death. They include funeral and burial costs, emotional distress, and more, as we discuss below.

In Illinois, there are two parts to a wrongful death claim: the “survival” or “estate” claim and the “wrongful death” claim. It’s important to note that most people refer to both as the overall “wrongful death” claim. For clarity, we’ll refer to each part as the “Survival” and “Wrongful Death ” claims.” We’ll discuss the difference between Survival and Wrongful Death claims later.

Who can file a wrongful death claim in Illinois?

Illinois law only allows a personal representative of the deceased to take action through a wrongful death lawsuit. If the deceased person left a will behind, the court will most likely appoint the person assigned in the will to be the personal representative.

If there was no will or if the will didn’t list a representative, the court would appoint one. This is often the spouse or an adult child. If neither applies, the deceased’s parents or siblings may be named. An Aurora wrongful death attorney can tell you more.

Do wrongful death claims have special deadlines?

In Illinois, you have two years from the date that your loved one passed away to file a wrongful death suit. This deadline is known as a “statute of limitations,” if you don’t file by that deadline, you won’t be able to take legal action against those responsible for your loss.

What are potential damages you could claim?

When someone files a wrongful death lawsuit, they’re doing so to recover the financial losses associated with the death of their loved one. The following are examples of economic and non-economic damages.


These include funeral costs and loss of financial support the deceased would have provided the family had the accident not happened.


Non-economic damages are subjective. They include the emotional trauma the family has suffered, as well as the loss of companionship.

What is the difference between a survival claim and a wrongful death claim?

The Survival claim is designed to compensate for the damages the deceased person incurred immediately before their death. These are damages that the deceased person would have been able to claim for themselves via a personal injury lawsuit had they survived the fatal incident.

Damages available in a Survival claim include:

  • Medical bills
  • Lost wages
  • Pain and suffering
  • Other losses incurred from the time of the incident to the time of death

Moving on to the Wrongful Death claim. Under a Wrongful Death claim, the deceased person’s family may recover compensation for the losses that they suffered as a result of losing their loved one. Damages available in a Wrongful Death claim include:

  • Loss of emotional support
  • Loss of consortium (close relationship in marriage)

Who may be liable in your wrongful death case?

Whether you file a wrongful death lawsuit, a survival lawsuit, or both, your case will be complex. To have the best chance of obtaining full compensation, you’ll need the help of our experienced Aurora wrongful death attorneys.

One of the reasons this kind of legal action is so complex is that there could be several different parties that contributed to the loss of your loved one through negligence. These include the following:

At-fault drivers

A drunk or reckless driver could be liable if their actions led to a fatal accident. That driver could have been going too fast or distracted by their smartphone. If the accident involved a truck, the driver could have been fatigued or lost control because negligently loaded cargo came loose inside the trailer.

Medical providers

A surgeon could be responsible for wrongful death due to malpractice. They may, for instance, have left a medical instrument inside the deceased by mistake or operated on the wrong part of the body. A nurse might have administered the wrong dose of medication.

Criminal offenders

Some people are under the mistaken impression that they can’t sue the criminal who killed their loved one during the commission of an act of violence. But even though the perpetrator faces a long prison sentence, the family can still pursue compensation through a civil lawsuit.

Defective or dangerous product manufacturers

Manufacturers of dangerous or defective products may also face liability if someone dies while using that product. The item could have been designed defectively, or the defect could have occurred during manufacturing. The company marketing the product may have failed to warn users of potential dangers properly.

You should contact our Aurora wrongful death attorneys before taking any legal action. Your lawyer can investigate to determine why your loved one died and also determine all the potential parties that are to blame.

How are wrongful death settlements paid out?

The settlement is issued to the personal representative for the deceased’s benefit, including the spouse and next of kin. The court will determine the percentage each person should be distributed based on their dependency on the deceased person.

Illinois law does not recognize common law marriages. If you were in a long-term relationship with the deceased and they died without a will, you wouldn’t be entitled to compensation.

The distribution of funds in a wrongful death or survival lawsuit can become very emotional. It can also get extremely complicated. But an Aurora wrongful death attorney can protect your rights and help you obtain the compensation you deserve.

What are common accidents that result in wrongful death?

Car accidents

A car accident can result in a wrongful death if the driver’s negligence, recklessness, or intentional misconduct causes the death of another person. Factors such as drunk driving, speeding, distracted driving, and disregard for traffic laws can all contribute to a fatal crash. In such cases, the victim’s family may have the right to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit against the responsible party.

Truck accidents

When an 80,000-pound semi-truck hits a passenger car, the forces are dangerous. Truck accidents can result in wrongful death if the truck driver or the trucking company is at fault. Causes of truck accidents include driver fatigue, overloading, improper maintenance, and reckless or negligent driving. In some cases, defective truck parts or faulty road design can also contribute to a fatal crash.

Workplace accidents

Examples of workplace accidents include construction accidents, industrial accidents, and fires. When a workplace accident results in a wrongful death, the victim’s family may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits and, in some cases, may also pursue a wrongful death lawsuit against the employer.

Accidental poisoning and overdose

If someone dies after exposure due to a toxic substance or substance abuse due to the negligence or misconduct of another party, that can also be considered a wrongful death.

Examples of accidental poisoning include exposure to hazardous chemicals at work, exposure to contaminated food or water, and overdose on prescription or illegal drugs. In such cases, the victim’s family may have the right to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit against those responsible, such as the manufacturer of a toxic product or a doctor who prescribed a dangerous medication.

Cost of hiring a wrongful death attorney in Aurora

You might hesitate to take legal action because you don’t think you can afford a lawyer, but you have options. At Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates, we don’t charge anything upfront. We’ll only receive money if your case is successful. Since you have nothing to lose, you should contact us as soon as possible.

Our Aurora wrongful death attorneys are here to help you and your family

Speak with our Aurora wrongful death attorneys to learn how we may assist. We’ll guide you through the entire process and help you understand your options. You can schedule a free evaluation of your case by calling us at (800) 985-1819 or contacting us online.