Illinois Wrongful Death Laws

What is a “Wrongful Death” in Illinois? 

When a person is killed by another party’s negligent, wrongful, or intentional actions in Illinois, a wrongful death lawsuit can be filed on behalf of the deceased individual because he/she could have brought a personal injury claim if had he/she survived. 

Common events that can lead to a wrongful death claim: 

  • Negligence-based accidents (e.g., car accidents, truck accidents, premises liability, etc.) 

  • Medical malpractice 

  • Intentional acts, such as criminal offenses 

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in IL? 

In a wrongful death lawsuit, this claim must be filed by the “personal representative” (or “executor”) who was appointed by the deceased individual before his/her death. If a person failed to appoint a personal representative before he/she died, then the court may appoint an executor.  

The personal representative can be an immediate family member, such as the deceased person’s spouse, parent, or adult child. Not only does a personal representative pursue the wrongful death claim on behalf of the surviving loved ones, but also carries out other estate-related tasks. 

What Types of Damages Are Available in an Illinois Wrongful Death Claim? 

Damages from a wrongful death lawsuit in Illinois are meant to compensate the deceased person’s surviving loved ones for out-of-pocket expenses associated with the death and intangible losses the family suffered. These damages are awarded to the deceased person’s surviving spouse and next of kin, based on how they depended on the deceased person when he/she was alive. 

Some of the common types of damages from an Illinois wrongful death claim include: 

  • Funeral and burial expenses 

  • Medical expenses incurred by the deceased person when he/she was alive 

  • Loss of financial support the deceased would have provided, such as lost wages and benefits 

  • Loss of consortium 

  • Loss of education and moral support the deceased person would have provided for his/her children 

  • Mental suffering, grief, and sorrow  

What is the Statute of Limitations for a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in IL? 

A personal representative has two years from the date of the person’s death to file a wrongful death claim based on negligence. However, if someone dies due to “violent intentional conduct,” the lawsuit must be filed within a five-year period. 

Additionally, if the at-fault party is charged with first- or second-degree murder, drug-induced homicide, intentional homicide or voluntary manslaughter of an unborn child, reckless homicide or involuntary manslaughter, or reckless homicide or involuntary manslaughter of a child, then a wrongful death claim can be brought one year following the conclusion of the criminal case. 

If you are interested in filing a wrongful death lawsuit in Chicago, call MR Civil Justice at (214) 307-8387 or fill out our online contact form to request a free case review. We have recovered millions of dollars from settlements and verdicts on behalf of our clients. 

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