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When a family member dies as the result of another’s negligence, filing a lawsuit is likely the last thing on your mind. However, you may be able to receive legal compensation for lost wages, outstanding medical bills, funeral expenses and other associated costs.

Learn how the wrongful death laws in Illinois may affect your case.

Who can file a wrongful death lawsuit?

If the deceased person designated a personal representative for his or her estate, that person is the only one who can file a wrongful death claim. In the absence of an identified personal representative, the court will appoint a close family member to serve this role. Usually, the judge names the deceased person’s spouse, adult child or parent in the case of a minor child.

What are the time limits for the representative to file a wrongful death case? Don’t guess, rather contact an attorney immediately.

The family only has a limited time to file a wrongful death case in Illinois. The Illinois Wrongful Death statute outlines a general time limit of 2 years from the date of death in which the action can be filed, but there are many exceptions to this depending on the factual circumstances and the underlying cause of action. Calculating the appropriate time frame in which to file a wrongful death case is a complex determination. If you believe a loved one has lost his or her life as a result of negligence, contact an attorney who specializes in catastrophic injury and wrongful death claims immediately. If you do not file the wrongful death lawsuit before the time limit expires, you will be forever barred in obtaining money damages arising out of their death.

What type of damages are available?

If you can prove the defendant acted negligently in your family member’s death, the court will award legal damages. In Illinois, the financial award for wrongful death may include:

  • Mental suffering, grief and sorrow on behalf of the person’s spouse and next of kin, depending on the level of support he or she provided to survivors
  • Funeral expenses, payable directly to the estate
  • Damages for loss of care and companionship
  • Medical costs associated with the person’s fatal injuries
  • Lost current and future wages
  • The cost of services the deceased person used to provide, such as housekeeping and child care