What should you do if your loved one has passed away, and you feel that someone else can be held responsible? After all, a dead person cannot file a lawsuit or a complaint, so there must be a way to get justice for them.
Luckily, Illinois has a state law that can address this issue, also known as wrongful death claims. Here we are going to examine some of the key elements of those laws, and go over who can initiate this type of civil action within the state’s courts.
What is considered wrongful death in Aurora, Illinois?
According to section one of 740 Illinois Compiled Statutes 180 – “Whenever the death of a person shall be caused by wrongful act, neglect or default, and the act, neglect or default is such as would, if death had not ensued, have entitled the party injured to maintain an action and recover damages.”
To simplify, this is a lawsuit brought on the behalf of the deceased person, filed by their family members, in order to be compensated for their losses that were the result of death, and the emotional impact that it had on them.
Who can file a wrongful death claim?
In Illinois, in order to file a wrongful death claim, you must be a personal representative of the deceased person’s estate. Contact us here for help doing this. This includes:
- A spouse
- A parent
- A person that the deceased has appointed as a personal representative
In the event that the deceased individual died before they appointed a personal representative in their estate plan, it is possible for the court to appoint a personal representative.
Difference between wrongful death claim and a criminal case
There is a difference between a wrongful death and a criminal case, even if they are both related to the same death. A wrongful death claim is a civil lawsuit, which is brought to court by the personal representative, and any liability is expressed only through money damages.
A criminal case on the other hand is brought by the state or federal government, and the guilty party is punished by prison time, probation or other suitable penalties. Furthermore, wrongful death can be brought to court even if the case is pursued by the government.
Time limit for filing a wrongful death claiming Aurora
In Illinois there is a time limit on filing a wrongful death claim and it is set by the statute of limitations, which varies depending on the case, or it can be within one year of the person’s death, whichever of two dates comes later.
Also, damages in a wrongful death case are financially compensated to the surviving spouse or next of kin. Moreover, there are damages that are only paid to certain parties involved, for example funeral expenses, which are usually paid to the estate directly, considering how these expenses are imposed on the estate.
This is a short version of everything you need to know about the wrongful death act. Of course, there are a lot more ins and outs that are explained through the law itself, but in the event of wrongful death that can easily be pursued, these are your options and your deadlines for filing the lawsuit in Aurora.