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Livas Law Group

Can You Bring a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Illinois?

Posted on in Personal Injury

Chicago personal injury attorneysOnce upon a time, an injured person’s lawsuit died with them. This might be shocking, but it meant that someone whose negligent or wrongful conduct ended up killing someone could not be held liable in civil court for that death. At Livas Law Group, a Division of Kralovec, Jambois & Schwartz, we are happy to report that the law has changed.

Now, Illinois recognizes wrongful death cases. Surviving family members can receive compensation when a loved one is killed by the wrongful conduct of another person. Doing so, however, generally requires the assistance of a skilled personal injury attorney.

What is a Wrongful Death?

The relevant statute is the Illinois Wrongful Death Act (740 ILCS 180). It states that a wrongful death is one caused by the default, neglect, or wrongful act of another person so that, if the person had lived, he or she could have brought a personal injury lawsuit.

There are many types of situations that support a wrongful death lawsuit. Many of the cases we have brought involve:

  • Car accidents
  • Truck accidents
  • Premises liability claims
  • Medical malpractice

If a loved one died because of the negligent, reckless, or intentional conduct of another person, please contact our law firm to discuss your options.

Who Files the Lawsuit?

Although family members receive compensation, the wrongful death lawsuit is brought by the personal representative for the deceased, who should be named in the will. If there was no will, then the court can appoint someone to fill this role.

Why Does the Prosecutor Not Bring the Case?

A wrongful death case is a civil proceeding. This means that the defendant, even if found at fault, cannot be sent to prison. Instead, he or she pays monetary compensation to the surviving family.

Some wrongful death cases might also have a criminal component. For example, a person who intentionally kills a loved one has committed a crime and a wrongful death. But, a person who is merely negligent—say, someone who backs up his car without looking in his mirror—will probably not be criminally prosecuted, even if his negligence supports a wrongful death lawsuit. A criminal prosecutor may bring the case in criminal court but does not have the legal standing to file the civil claim.

What Compensation Can Family Members Receive?

Illinois law allows a court to award whatever damages are fair and just. Typically, we see clients receive money for:

  • Lost income or lost wages
  • Lost services the deceased provided
  • Loss of care or companionship
  • Grief, sorrow, and mental suffering

The estate can also receive compensation for funeral and burial expenses, as well as for medical bills incurred to treat a final illness or injury. Your attorney can file a related survival action to recover them.

Each case is unique, so it is difficult to say ahead of time how much our clients can qualify for. Please meet with an attorney to review your situation.

Contact a Chicago Personal Injury Attorney Today

The loss of a loved one is a deeply sad time. Instead of trying to navigate the complex legal process, please contact Livas Law Group today. One of our skilled Chicago personal injury lawyers will happily take over the case for you so that you and your family have time to grieve. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.




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