When a person is involved in an accident they can typically pursue legal action against the negligent party. If their injuries result in death, however, who can pursue justice on their behalf? The answer will vary from state to state depending on individual laws. Losing a loved one is never easy, especially when their death is untimely and occurs at the hands of someone else. If you lost a loved one due to the actions of another person or entity you may be able to file a wrongful death claim on their behalf. Read on to learn more and obtain help from an experienced Kane County wrongful death lawyer.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?

According to Illinois state law, a wrongful death claim can only be filed by the deceased person’s personal representative. The personal representative is typically the executor of their will who was appointed by the deceased before their passing. Along with filing a wrongful death claim the executor has the responsibility of ensuring that the wishes of the departed are honored and their belongings are transferred to the appropriate parties.

If an executor was not appointed before the death, the court has the power to appoint one.

What Damages Can Be Collected?

When a person is injured at the hands of another they are able to receive compensation to cover medical expenses, loss of wages, property damage, emotional suffering, etc. When they pass away due to wrongful death, their surviving family is entitled to the same damages. In Illinois, damages can be paid to the surviving spouse and next of kin. How compensation is distributed will depend on how dependent each person was on the deceased.

The following are damages that can be collected through a wrongful death lawsuit.

  • Financial support that would have been provided by the deceased including wages and benefits
  • Compensation for the loss of companionship for a spouse
  • Compensation for the loss of guidance for children
  • Compensation for the survivors’ mental anguish and emotional suffering

While this financial compensation can never make up for the loss of a loved one, it can ease the worries of the surviving family and ensure they are financially taken care of.

How Long Do You Have to File a Wrongful Death Claim?

Most lawsuits for accidents have what is referred to as a statute of limitations. A statute of limitations is a time constraint in which a lawsuit or claim must be filed. For wrongful death claims in Illinois, the statute of limitations is as follows.

  • Standardly two years from the date of death
  • Five years from the date of death if the victim died as a result of intentional and violent behavior
  • If a criminal case is ongoing against the defendant, one year after the case is completed

If these time periods pass and you have not filed a claim or lawsuit you are effectively giving up your right to pursue legal action for your loved one’s death. Acquire help from a skilled attorney to ensure you are following proper procedures and meeting required deadlines.