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WRONGFUL DEATH

Although it is difficult to accept sometimes, death is a natural part of life. When you lose a loved one prematurely due to the actions or inactions of another person or party, their death can be impossible to accept for many reasons. You might be worried about how you will pay bills without their income, how you will pay for their funeral expenses, or how you will deal with your heartbreak and grief. A compassionate Chicago wrongful death attorney can help you as you seek to recoup the damages that the negligent party caused in your life.

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What Makes a Death a Wrongful Death?

Under Illinois statute, if the death of a person was caused by a wrongful act or negligence and the death would not have otherwise occurred, a representative of the decedent can file a wrongful death lawsuit on their behalf. If the individual was still alive and could file a personal injury lawsuit, then the family or representative likely has a claim for wrongful death.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

In this state, a wrongful death claim requires that a personal representative of the deceased individual’s estate file the claim. The personal representative could be a close relative. For example:

  • The spouse of the deceased
  • A parent of a minor child who died
  • An adult child of the decedent

If the individual passed away without assigning a personal representative in their estate plan, the court will likely appoint a personal representative. If you are not sure if your loved one had appointed such a representative or you would like to be that person, speak to a knowledgeable Chicago wrongful death lawyer as soon as possible.

Separate Criminal and Civil CasesĀ 

Keep in mind that criminal cases for causing death are not the same as civil wrongful death cases. If there is a criminal case involving the death, it will be handled by law enforcement and the court system, which has jurisdiction. If convicted, the perpetrator could face significant jail time and fines as well as other consequences.

In a civil wrongful death case, the case isn’t brought by the state but by the deceased individual’s representative. It is a separate case and trial from the criminal case; however, a guilty verdict could influence the way the civil case ends. If the personal representative wins the case, the defendant will be ordered by the civil court to pay for their damages.

A Compassionate Chicago Wrongful Death Attorney Can Be an Advocate for You and Your Family

While no amount of financial compensation will ever make up for the loss of a loved one, being secure in your financial future and having the assurance that the responsible parties have been brought to justice can provide a sense of closure and refuge to the survivors.

Wrongful death lawsuits are often complicated and vary by state. While you are grieving, initiating a wrongful death lawsuit may not seem urgent. However, wrongful death cases must be filed within a specific time period, or you will risk losing your right to pursue financial compensation through the court system.

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