When a loved one dies unexpectedly in an accident, it can feel like nothing can make you whole again. This is an understandable and common feeling. Illinois law does attempt to make a victim’s family whole again by giving family members the option to file a wrongful death action in cases where the fatal accident was due to someone else’s negligence.
If your wrongful death action is successful, you could be awarded damages for your grief, sorrow, and mental suffering.
Myth #1: Anyone Who Loved the Decedent Can Get Damages
First, a suit can only be brought by the representative of the decedent's estate. A decedent is the person who died in the accident. Most wills have a representative. However, in wrongful death actions, there is often not a will because fatal accidents are rarely anticipated.
In this circumstance where there is no will, the court will appoint a representative of the estate.
Once a wrongful death action is properly instituted by the representative of the estate, damages can only be awarded “for the exclusive benefit of the surviving spouse and next of kin of [the] deceased person.”
Myth #2: A Criminal Case Will Get Family Compensation
A criminal case is brought by the government. If found guilty, the person accused of the death will serve jail time. A criminal court proceeding will not get the family compensation. In order to get compensation, you must file a civil suit.
Myth #3: Anytime Someone Dies Too Soon a Wrongful Death Action Can be Brought
Under Illinois law, a wrongful death action can only be brought when the death of a person was “caused by wrongful act, neglect or default.” In layman’s terms, this means that the death must be caused by someone else’s failure to act reasonably.
Comparative negligence can apply in wrongful death claims. This means that a judge or jury could find that the decedent was partially at fault in his or her own death. In this circumstance, the monetary award would be reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to the decedent.
Contact a Lombard, IL Wrongful Death Action Lawyer Today
A wrongful death action is complex and the stakes are high. You have a limited time to bring a wrongful death action. In a typical case, you have two years from the date of the death.
Wrongful death actions can involve numerous parties that may be potentially at fault for the death, and these parties have lawyers. You should have a lawyer as well.
As our client, you can trust us to make your loved one’s best case during a difficult time for the family. Contact the DuPage County wrongful death lawyers at Mevorah & Giglio Law Offices for a free consultation by calling 630-932-9100.
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