Losing a loved one due to criminal activity or a preventable accident is the most devastating event that could befall a family. In addition to experiencing intense grief, you might also feel anger at the people whose actions led to your loved one’s death.
Bringing a wrongful death lawsuit against the responsible parties could offer families some emotional relief as well as financial compensation. A knowledgeable injury attorney from The Kryder Law Group could explain whether your family might have grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit.
If so, a Hoffman Estates wrongful death lawyer could help your grieving family hold the responsible parties accountable for their actions. Money offers no solace compared to losing a loved one, but it could offer your family stability and help them move forward.
Wrongful Death Lawsuits Are Civil Actions
A party who intentionally, recklessly, or carelessly caused someone’s death might face criminal charges. If so, the criminal case proceeds independently of a wrongful death action.
A prosecutor brings criminal charges based on evidence of a criminal act. If the accused pleads guilty or a jury finds them guilty, the sentence could be community service, a fine, probation, or perhaps time in jail or prison.
When a skilled Hoffman Estates attorney brings a wrongful death action, it is a civil suit based on evidence of negligence. If a jury finds a person responsible for a death, or if the case settles before a trial, the responsible party pays financial compensation to the decedent’s family. No other punishment is available in civil court.
Process of Bringing a Wrongful Death Claim
Wrongful death actions are unique and differ from other personal injury claims. 740 Illinois Consolidated Statutes §180/ explains the process of bringing a wrongful death lawsuit in the state of Illinois.
Who May Sue?
When someone dies, a court appoints a responsible person to collect money the deceased person is owed, pay their debts, and distribute the remaining property to the deceased person’s heirs. The person the court appoints is called the estate’s Personal Representative. The appointee could be a family member, a friend, an attorney, or someone else. The Personal Representative is the one who must file a wrongful death lawsuit.
What Is the Timeframe for Bringing a Wrongful Death Action?
A Personal Representative could file a wrongful death lawsuit in Hoffman Estates up to two years after the deceased person’s date of death. Note that the clock begins running at the time of the decedent’s death, not the date they sustained the injury that eventually caused their death.
If the defendant in a wrongful death lawsuit faces criminal charges related to the deceased person’s death, a family may sometimes have a longer time to bring a lawsuit. The additional time allows for the resolution of the criminal charges. An experienced lawyer in Hoffman Estates could explain how criminal charges might affect the timeframe for bringing a wrongful death lawsuit in a specific case.
Who Benefits from a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
The deceased person’s surviving spouse, children, parents, and other dependents next of kin share in the proceeds of a wrongful death lawsuit. A judge distributes the proceeds according to how much each family member depended on the deceased person financially.
What Damages Are Available?
Damages in wrongful death actions include the money that the deceased person would have earned and contributed to the household if they had lived, based on their remaining expected years until retirement. It also includes the value of services the deceased person provided to the household, such as:
- Yard work
- Various other services
Family members receive funds to compensate for their grief, emotional distress, lost love and companionship, emotional sorrow, and other non-economic losses they suffered due to the loved one’s death.
Get Justice with the Help of a Hoffman Estates Wrongful Death Attorney
Bringing a lawsuit might not seem like a healthy way to manage grief, but many families find it healing to hold a responsible party accountable. If you lost a loved one due to someone else’s negligent, reckless, or intentional actions, you should consider whether a wrongful death lawsuit might help your family move forward.
A Hoffman Estates wrongful death lawyer could explain how to take legal action against the person or company that caused your loved one’s death. Reach out as soon as you can to speak with a compassionate attorney at The Kryder Law Group.