Filing a Wrongful Death Claim in Illinois
No one ever wants to see loved ones die. When this occurs as a result of someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing, it is all the more painful. Although no amount of compensation will bring back the family member you have lost, the person responsible should be held liable. You deserve to be compensated for the losses you have suffered.
At Anesi Ozmon, our lawyers have represented the families of wrongful death victims in Chicago and throughout the surrounding areas of Illinois since 1955. We have filed wrongful death lawsuits arising out of a variety of circumstances, including automobile accidents, construction accidents, medical malpractice, nursing home neglect, defective products, and falls due to unsafe premises. We take care of our clients by personally listening to and walking each client through the legal process.
Wrongful Death Laws in Illinois
The Wrongful Death Statute in Illinois creates a cause of action on behalf of the surviving spouse and/or next of kin for the economic and emotional losses suffered when a loved one is tragically killed. For example, under the law, a surviving spouse is entitled to recover for the loss of the financial support, services, love, and affection caused by the death of one’s spouse. If the person killed also left any children, each child has a similar cause of action for the loss of financial support, love, companionship, and guidance he or she received from the parent.
In addition, our retired senior partner, Bruce Kohen, had successfully led the effort to amend the law to also include grief and sorrow as additional damages. We have a long track record of successful wrongful death claims and know how to navigate the law to protect our clients’ rights.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Illinois?
The State of Illinois only allows the personal representative (or the “executor”) of the decedent’s estate to actually file a wrongful death action. This means that an individual who is not the personal representative cannot file a claim, even if they are entitled to wrongful death compensation under the law. However, when the personal representative files the claim, he or she does so on behalf of eligible surviving family members, such as the decedent’s spouse, children, parents, or even siblings.
If the decedent passed away without a will or without having named a personal representative, the court will appoint one on behalf of the estate.
Can You File a Wrongful Death Claim If Your Loved One’s Death Was Not Accidental?
Yes. You may file a wrongful death claim if your loved one died due to another person or party’s intentional misconduct or criminal activity. In other words, if your family member was the victim of manslaughter, homicide, or murder, you can file a wrongful death claim or lawsuit against the liable person or party.
A wrongful death action is a civil action, as opposed to a criminal case. The burden of proof in a civil action is lower than the burden of proof that must be established in a homicide or murder case. To achieve a criminal conviction, one must prove that the defendant is guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt,” but in a wrongful death lawsuit, one must simply establish that the defendant is more likely than not to have caused the decedent’s death, based on the available evidence.
This does not mean that proving a wrongful death case will be easy. However, it does mean that you could have a successful wrongful death case regardless of the outcome of any criminal proceedings. In any case, we strongly encourage you to reach out to an experienced Chicago wrongful death lawyer, like those at Anesi Ozmon, who can help you with your case. Our team knows how to properly investigate these claims and develop powerful, evidence-based cases on behalf of our clients.
How Long Do You Have to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
The state of Illinois gives you two years to file a wrongful death lawsuit. If this statute of limitations expires, and you have not yet filed your suit, you will lose your right to sue the liable party for damages.
We encourage you to act quickly. We know that taking legal action may be the furthest thing from your mind after the tragic loss of a loved one, but the sooner we can begin collecting evidence and building your claim, the better your chances of securing the justice you deserve.
Contact Us for Compassionate, Personalized Legal Representation
At Anesi Ozmon, we understand what you are going through, and we are ready to help you meet—and overcome—the challenges that still lie ahead. Our Chicago wrongful death attorneys offer highly personalized support and compassionate representation tailored to you and your unique situation.
We offer free initial consultations for all personal injury and wrongful death claims. We have successfully handled hundreds of cases and are experienced in helping families cope with such an unexpected tragedy. We can help you and your family, too.
In Illinois, you can recover the following types of damages in a wrongful death claim or lawsuit:
- Medical bills and expenses related to the decedent’s final injury/illness
- Funeral and/or burial costs
- Loss of expected income, earnings, and benefits the decedent would have provided
- The value of household and other services provided by the decedent
- Loss of consortium, i.e., loss of companionship, society, and sexual relationship
- Loss of education, instruction, and guidance provided by the decedent to surviving children
- Pain and suffering, including grief and sorrow, experienced by the surviving loved one
Illinois does not cap (or limit) the amount of damages you can receive in a wrongful death claim. Additionally, you could be entitled to punitive damages if you can prove that your loved one’s death resulted from the egregious negligence, wanton/willful misconduct, or intentional act of another.
For more than 60 years, Illinoisans have entrusted their personal injury and workers’ compensation matters to us. We believe in keeping our clients informed of where their cases are and what lies ahead. When you have questions, we will patiently answer all the questions you may have about the legal process.
We Handle Your Case, So You Can Recover
We understand the uncertainty you face and aim to provide you peace of mind. Clients may worry about making ends meet while missing work because of injuries or staying out of debt from medical bills. Our aim is to go above and beyond what you expect so that you can focus on recovery.
Work Directly With Your Attorney
Our firm believes that in order be a successful team, we need to work directly with our clients. Not only do you get to work directly with your attorney, but you always have access to their direct number to ensure your questions never go unanswered.
Personalized Strategies & Results
At Anesi Ozmon, we believe that no two situations are alike. Thus, we work to not only learn about your case but also about what unique goals and needs you may have in order to provide you with legal counsel customized to you.
Protecting the Injured Since 1955
Anesi Ozmon has four generations of leaders and decades of experience protecting the rights of those injured. When you come to our office, you don't just get our team, you get our history.