The untimely loss of a loved one due to the negligence of another is difficult, if not impossible, for many people to fathom. But, the sad reality is that the world we live in is not perfect and the death of a person or persons may occur due to a wrongful or neglectful act on the part of an individual who had a duty to exercise reasonable care under a given circumstance, but they failed to do so.
It is important for our Illinois residents to understand that although in some cases there may be an on-going criminal action around the death of a loved one, a wrongful death lawsuit is not a criminal law issue, but instead falls under the purview of civil actions. Civil trials have a lower standard of proof than criminal trials, and unlike murder trials, which do not have a statute of limitations; wrongful death lawsuits in Illinois have a statute of limitations.
A statute of limitations is a prescribed time period by law for a party to bring a legal claim against a negligent party whose actions resulted in the demise of a loved one. The statute of limitations varies by type of claim. Illinois has a Wrongful Death Act in place, which details the legal procedure for a party to bring a wrongful death lawsuit. Presently under the current Illinois Wrongful Death Act, there is a two-year statute of limitations for wrongful death lawsuits. The clock starts tolling two years after the death of a person.
Wrongful death lawsuits can arise following a botched medical or dental procedure or a car accident. Bereaved families interested in learning more about their legal options following the untimely death of their loved one may find it helpful to contact a wrongful death attorney.
Source: ilga.gov, “Wrongful Death Act,” Accessed Sept. 14, 2015