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Overview of Illinois Accidental, Wrongful Death Law

A wrongful death claim filed by a lawyer or attorney in Illinois is a suit that arises from the death of an individual that was caused by the conduct of another. Under Illinois law, a wrongful death suit is different from other types of personal injury claims because the actual victim (the "decedent") is not bringing suit, rather it is the family members or the decedent's estate. As such, a wrongful death claim filed by a lawyer or attorney under Illinois law is brought to recover damages for the injuries that the surviving family and/or estate have suffered due to the death of the victim. The damages recovered do not include damages that are personal to the decedent, since the decedent is not allowed by law to recover for pain and suffering, mental distress, or any other form of compensatory damages unique to him or her. The purpose of a wrongful death suit under Illinois law is to provide relief to family members who have been injured emotionally and financially as a result of the family member's death.

To file a wrongful death suit in Illinois, you must show that:

  • The death of a person was caused by a wrongful act, neglect or default
  • The act, neglect or default would have entitled the injured person to file an action to recover damages had the death not occurred 740 ILCS 180/1
  • Monetary damages have resulted from the decedentís death

In Illinois, wrongful death actions must be brought by and in the names of the personal representatives of the decedent. The proceeds of the wrongful death action must go to the surviving spouse or next of kin. If no surviving spouse or next of kin exists, then a reasonable amount of the award may go to expenses arising from the prosecution of the wrongful death action and the administering of the estate.740 ILCS 180/2. Illinois law makes a distinction between persons who can file a wrongful death suit and persons who are beneficiaries. Only certain individuals can file wrongful death claims, and those that are allowed to sue do so on behalf of others. A personal representative is a person appointed by the state of Illinois to represent the beneficiaries. Siblings and cousins of the decedent do not have the right to bring the lawsuit unless they have been named a personal representative of the decedent. Even as personal representative they still have no right of recovery except in that proportion, decided by the court, in which they were dependant upon the decedent.740 ILCS 180/2

In all matters involving Illinois wrongful death lawsuits it is essential that measures be taken promptly to preserve evidence, investigate the accident in question, and to file a lawsuit prior to the deadline imposed by the Illinois wrongful death statute of limitations. If a loved one has been a victim of wrongful death in Illinois, contact us now, CLICK HERE TO SUBMIT A SIMPLE CASE FORM. The initial consultation is free of charge, and if we agree to accept your case, we will work on a contingent fee basis, which means we get paid for our services only if there is a monetary award or recovery of funds. Donít delay! You may have a valid claim and be entitled to compensation for your injuries, but a lawsuit must be filed before the Illinois wrongful death statute of limitations expires.

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The above is not legal advice. That can only come from a qualified attorney who is familiar with all the facts and circumstances of a particular, specific case and the relevant law. See Terms of Use.

The wrongful death information offered by Illinois Wrongful Death Lawyer and contained herein, regarding Illinois wrongful death statutes and Illinois wrongful death claimants' rights is general in scope. No wrongful death Illinois attorney client relationship with our Illinois wrongful death attorneys is hereby formed nor is the negligent death information herein intended as formal legal advice. Please contact a Illinois personal injury wrongful death lawyer regarding your specific inquiry.

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