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Who can file a wrongful death lawsuit in Illinois?

On Behalf of | Sep 21, 2021 | Wrongful Death

Losing a loved one in Illinois is difficult enough, but it’s even worse when you rely on that person for love, companionship, guidance, and financial support. A wrongful death lawsuit may be your only option to avoid financial hardship after their death. It’s important to know who can file this type of lawsuit and the state’s laws regarding wrongful death cases.

What is wrongful death?

Wrongful death occurs as a result of another person’s actions. Sometimes, those actions may be negligent or reckless, but other times, they are deliberate acts of violence that warrant criminal charges of murder or manslaughter. Whether a person dies as a result of carelessness or a malicious act, the family may be able to file a wrongful death claim to recover civil damages.

Who can file a wrongful death claim?

Per Illinois law, immediate family members such as the deceased person’s spouse or child can file a wrongful death claim. The claim is made against the individual or entity responsible for the person’s death. When the decedent’s survivors suffer a significant hardship as a result of the death, they can seek to recover compensation.

What are Illinois’ wrongful death laws?

The statute of limitations for filing a civil claim is five years from the date of the death if intentional violence led to the death. A civil claim can also be filed within one year after a criminal case against the individual responsible for the death if they are charged with murder, manslaughter or reckless homicide, intentional homicide of an unborn child, or drug-induced homicide.

The statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death case due to negligence must be filed within two years of the death. The surviving spouse and children dependent on the decedent for financial support are entitled to recover damages such as grief, sorrow, and mental suffering.

Losing a loved one is devastating. Filing a wrongful death suit won’t bring them back, but it may bring some level of relief to family members.


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