When a loved one dies this can often be one of the most difficult times of your life, not to mention the lives of countless other family members and friends. Coping with the sudden loss of a person so integral to your life can leave you with many feelings to sort through, not to mention the affairs of that person after they die. This experience can be exponentially more jarring when your loved one dies at the hand of someone else, or some organization. To recover from that person (or organization) you may be able to utilize Illinois’ wrongful death laws.
The Parallel of Wrongful Death and Homicide
According to Illinois law, a wrongful death claim is when a person’s death is caused by a “wrongful act, neglect or default” and the absence of the act or neglect would entitle the person to recover damages if they were alive. Wrongful death claims are civil lawsuits, as opposed to criminal lawsuits. An example would be the infamous O.J. Simpson case. In that case, when Simpson was brought on trial for murder he was acquitted. However, The New York Times reported that the victims’ families later filed a civil wrongful death suit against Simpson and won. This is important to note because, although you may lose a criminal case, you might still be able to prevail in civil court. As if to emphasize the importance of this, a federal judge needed to weigh the decision on whether or not to delay a wrongful death trial for the Sandra Bland incident until after a related criminal case is tried. According to the Rockford Register Star, the officer who pulled over Sandra Bland is being charged with allegedly perjuring himself in relation to her death in a jail following the stop. Bland’s family is suing in a civil suit over the same incident, but that suit may be delayed for the time being.
Multiple Civil Suits Stemming From One Incident
Wrongful death lawsuits are unique in that they can have multiple other suits occurring as part of the same incident. Take, for example, the case of the Anthony Barmore estate. In 2014 the Rockford Register Star reported on the Rockford City Council’s decision to settle with the Barmore estate in the amount of $1.1 million. Mark Anthony Barmore died after an encounter with the local police inside a church daycare. Barmore was unarmed at the time. The article stated the litigation was already costing the city of Rockford upwards of $600,000 in fees, so a settlement made sense. However, there are still lawsuits against the city by other parties. Recently the Rockford Register Star reported on the jury selection of another lawsuit related to the Barmore incident. In this case, witnesses of the Barmore incident are suing Rockford for the damages they suffered, alleging the officers involved did not follow proper police procedures.
Although only one person may die in any given incident, there are likely many claims that can spawn as part of that single moment. Not only may there be one criminal suit related to your wrongful death claim, but there may also be other related civil suits. The elements involved in each case may be important to your claim, thus it is important that you contact an experienced wrongful death attorney.
The Rockford attorneys at Fisk & Monteleone LTD. are experienced dealing with wrongful death claims. If you are looking for help with your claim you should contact us today at 815-209-9030 for more information.