One of the most difficult and traumatic experiences a person can go through is grieving the death of a loved one. When that death is due to the recklessness of another individual, it can be even more devastating for the family. While many car accidents result in property damage or injuries, far too many result in the death of one or more people. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were more than 35,000 traffic fatalities that occurred in the United States in 2017. Although nothing can bring back your loved one, Illinois does allow the families of wrongful death victims to file claims to help mitigate some of the financial burdens that an unexpected death can cause.
Wrongful death claims exist to allow a deceased person’s family members to claim damages that the deceased individual would have been able to claim in a personal injury lawsuit if he or she were alive. Illinois law allows surviving spouses and minor children of the deceased to file a wrongful death claim and recover damages, though this right can also be given to an adult child of the deceased or the parents of a deceased minor.
Every legal action has a period of time during which such action must be taken. This is called the statute of limitations, and even wrongful death claims have this statute. In order for a claim to be considered, a person must file a wrongful death claim within two years after the death of his or her loved one. The statute of limitations can be extended to five years if the death was the result of violent intentional conduct.
A variety of damages can be claimed when filing a wrongful death case; such as the following:
Funeral, cremation, and/or burial expenses
Loss of financial support
Loss of inheritance
Loss of companionship and/or parental guidance
Punitive damages (if applicable)
Illinois law dictates that damages will be distributed among the eligible family members based on the level of dependence on the deceased’s support. There is no specific formula that determines how the damages are distributed; this is left up to the discretion of the court.
When a family member unexpectedly passes away after being involved in a car accident, it can wreak havoc on the entire family. Not only are you grieving the loss of your loved one, but you probably also have expenses for which you did not plan and much uncertainty regarding future finances. If you have lost a loved one due to the negligence of another motorist, you should talk with a knowledgeable Bloomingdale wrongful death lawyer about the options available to you and your family. At the Mevorah Law Offices LLC, we understand that filing a wrongful death lawsuit will not bring your loved one back, but we will work tirelessly to help you recover financial losses to benefit you and your family. Call our office today at 630-932-9100 to schedule a free consultation.
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