There is nothing more heartbreaking or emotionally devastating than losing a family member in a fatal accident. While no compensation could ever make up for such a horrific loss, the victim and their loved ones deserve justice and accountability. The Illinois Wrongful Death Act (740 ILCS 180/1) provides a legal remedy.
Unfortunately, not everyone who was close to the victim has the right to bring a claim under Illinois’ wrongful death law. Instead, our state has clear procedures for wrongful death cases. Here, our Rockford wrongful death attorneys explain the most important things you need to know about wrongful death lawsuit eligibility in Illinois.
A Wrongful Death Claim is Filed by a Personal Representative (Executor of Estate)
In Illinois, a wrongful death lawsuit must be filed by a personal representative of the victim. In most cases, the personal representative is the executor of their estate. With very few exceptions, wrongful death lawsuits are subject to a two-year statute of limitations. The personal representative should comply with this and other procedural rules. To be clear, the personal representative is responsible for bringing the claim for the benefit of the rightful beneficiaries. Depending on their relationship to the victim, the personal representative may or may not have their own underlying interest in the claim.
Who Can Recover Damages through a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Under the Illinois Wrongful Death Act, the primary beneficiaries are the victim’s next-of-kin. As a starting point, this means wrongful death compensation will (typically) go to a surviving spouse and for the benefit of any children.
Though, certainly other family members of the deceased may also have a legal right to recover damages. If there is no surviving spouse or surviving children, parents, siblings, or other family members may have legal rights through a wrongful death action.
Wrongful death compensation may be divided across multiple parties. If a verdict is issued or a settlement is reached, an Illinois court will determine what proportion of the damages each party should receive and will distribute wrongful death compensation accordingly.
A Lawyer Will Help You Understand Your Rights and Options
Wrongful death claims are notoriously complex. It is normal to be overwhelmed. During such a difficult time, you should focus on yourself and on taking care of your family. An experienced Rockford wrongful death lawyer will help you sort out the intricacies of our state’s rules and regulations. If you have any questions or concerns about your eligibility to file a wrongful death lawsuit and recover damages, our wrongful death attorneys are here to offer guidance.
Speak to a Rockford Wrongful Death Lawyer Today
At Fisk & Monteleone Ltd., our Illinois wrongful death attorneys are compassionate and experienced advocates for families. We will help you understand your rights and options under the law. To schedule a free, completely confidential initial consultation, please contact our law firm at 815-962-0044. With an office in Rockford, we serve people and families throughout Northern Illinois, including in Winnebago County, Ogle County, Stephenson County, and Boone County.