When you lose a close family member you should be able to grieve their passing with your loved ones. Unfortunately, this grieving can often be interrupted when you discover that their death could have been prevented if it hadn’t been for the negligent actions of another.
In cases like these, you may be able to bring a wrongful death claim against them. This will allow you to recover compensation for your suffering. Hold the at-fault party responsible for the pain they’ve inflicted upon your family. Continue reading to learn everything you need to know to prepare yourself for moving forward with a wrongful death claim.
What is Negligence for Wrongful Death?
Before anything else, you need to ensure that you have grounds to file a wrongful death claim. In Illinois, you can pursue a claim when you are able to prove negligence on the part of whomever is liable for your relative’s death.
Negligence in wrongful death claims is described as being a wrongful act or neglect. It doesn’t matter whether or not the person intentionally caused the deceased’s death or not- the fact of the matter is that their actions are directly responsible for the person’s passing.
This is different than a criminal trial in which the prosecution will bring charges against the culpable party that, if convicted, will oftentimes result in imprisonment. Criminal proceedings require the prosecutor to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty of the charges against them.
In a civil claim, it’s up to the plaintiff to demonstrate based on a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant is guilty. Essentially, you will be bringing a claim on behalf of the decedent while obtaining compensation for the impact their death has had on you and their other dependants.
Determining Who Can Pursue the Claim
The law states very clearly that only the personal representative of the decedent’s estate will be able to file a wrongful death claim. The deceased must have named the person who will represent their death prior to their passing. This might be their spouse or an adult child.
In cases where a minor child has passed away, their parents would be the assumed representative of their estate. If the deceased did not assign a representative of their estate, the Courts will appoint a representative who will then be able to pursue a wrongful death claim in addition to handling all of the other details of the decedent’s estate.
How Long Will You Have to File Your Wrongful Death Suit?
The statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death claim in Illinois is based upon either the date the accident occurred, or from the date of the deceased’s passing, whichever date came later. This could be as little as one year from the decedent’s death or as much as two years from the date of the incident that caused their passing.
You’ll need to discuss the details of your loved one’s death to determine how long you’ll have to file your claim. If you fail to file your claim within the statute of limitations, you will, unfortunately, be barred from securing compensation for your suffering.
Losses Included in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
When you are pursuing a wrongful death claim, there are many different types of losses that should be considered when calculating the value of your claim including:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Loss of companionship and love
- Lost wages & the loss of earning potential
- Medical expenses the deceased incurred prior to their death
- Mental health counseling for bereaved family members
- Emotional distress
- Pain and suffering of the decedent
- Loss of guidance and support
Each of these damages will be dispersed among family members based on their level of dependence on the deceased. Additionally, certain losses can only be paid to specific family members. For instance, funeral and burial costs will typically be provided to the representative of the decedent’s estate as they are responsible for funeral and burial arrangements.
Seek Help From a Skilled Wrongful Death Lawyer
If you are considering the pursuit a wrongful death claim, get in touch with Mahoney & Mahoney, wrongful death attorneys who can help you obtain the compensation you and your family are entitled to. You can schedule your free consultation today by visiting their website here or calling their office at 815-656-4600.