Each state has specific policies and procedures related to wrongful death claims, and it is important to understand how your state defines wrongful death, as well as how to go about filing a claim if you believe a family member or loved one’s death was due to the wrongful conduct or actions of another person or entity. All deaths are tragic, but a sudden death caused by someone else’s negligence can leave strong feelings. While no amount of money will ever bring back your loved one, a successful claim may help you cover medical expenses leading up to the death, as well as funeral costs and even pain and suffering.
Before understanding who can file a wrongful death claim in Illinois, it is important to know how the state defines “wrongful death.”
Definition of Wrongful Death in Illinois
Illinois’s Wrongful Death Act details the definition of wrongful death in the state of Illinois. It states,
“Whenever the death of a person shall be caused by wrongful act, neglect or default, and the act, neglect or default is such as would, if death had not ensued, have entitled the party injured to maintain an action and recover damages in respect thereof, then and in every such case the person who or company or corporation which would have been liable if death had not ensued, shall be liable to an action for damages, notwithstanding the death of the person injured and although the death shall have been caused under such circumstances as amount in law to felony.”
In simpler terms, a wrongful death is when the death of a person(s) has resulted due to the wrongful conduct or actions of another person or entity.
Who can file a wrongful death claim in Illinois?
In the state of Illinois, a personal representative from the deceased person’s estate must file the claim. The personal representative could be a parent, a spouse or an adult child.
Most wills include details regarding an official representative, but in cases of the tragic untimely death of person where there is no will or assignment of a personal representative, the court may appoint someone to represent the family. The court tasks this personal representative with all aspects of the claim and may require that he or she consults relevant officials and authorities while handling key roles related to the estate.
Wrongful death cases thereby differ from personal injury cases because the family members are the beneficiaries and the filers of the lawsuit for the wrongful or negligent actions that resulted in the death of a loved one.
In some situations, there may be a criminal case alongside the civil case, but it is important to remember that these are separate processes. The state must bring the criminal case, and you cannot claim damages through this process. Even if you are aware of a related criminal case, in order to claim compensation for medical expenses, lost wages or pain and suffering, you must do so in a civil court.
We pray that you are never in this situation, and understand how difficult it is to lose a loved one. If you lost a loved one and believe it to be due to the wrongful conduct or actions of another entity, please do not hesitate to call Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates today. Even if you do not wish to retain a Chicago wrongful death attorney we can help sight you on the right path for free. Most of our lawyers have more than 30 years of experience and we have an outstanding track record in helping our clients and creating a strong trusting relationship. Please call our Chicago office at (312)-372-8822, or our Joliet office at (815)-723-8822, or you can call our toll-free number at (800)-985-1819.