Drivers traveling on Illinois roads must follow traffic rules in order to stay safe. Some know the disastrous outcomes possible after an auto accident. Crashing into another vehicle, a utility pole, a wall or some other structure might lead to severe permanent injuries or worse. Fatalities may also occur, and if negligent actions result in someone’s death, a wrongful death suit might follow when someone’s life ends due to a careless accident.
Elements of wrongful death suits in Illinois
Under Illinois law, a wrongful death case might go forward when someone dies due to a person’s wrongful act, neglect or default. If a passenger dies in a car from a heart attack and the driver did nothing wrong, a lawsuit may seem inappropriate. However, when a driver does something that leads to another’s death, he or she could face a credible wrongful death claim.
A driver who takes to the road while heavily intoxicated, goes through a red light and kills a pedestrian has played a significant role in that person’s death. In another example, a driver with “road rage” who deliberately drives his car into a bicyclist would be likely to face both civil and criminal blame for the death.
What if someone makes a legal turn on red and kills a pedestrian because they “didn’t see” the person walking there? Inattention, distractions and fatigue probably won’t serve as valid excuses. Fatal accidents, even unintentional ones, may come with legal consequences.
Statutory considerations with a wrongful death claim
Those eligible to file a wrongful death suit may seek damages to cover medical expenses, loss of financial support, and pain and suffering. Potential litigants may wish to speak with an attorney about their options.
Illinois law addresses who is eligible to file a wrongful death claim, including the surviving spouse or next of kin. Regarding the next of kin, the level of dependency factors into claims.
The statute of limitations comes into play when filing a wrongful death suit in Illinois. With a negligence-related death, the statute of limitations is two years from the victim’s passing.
An attorney can answer your questions about wrongful death suits in more detail. The attorney might also discuss insurance settlement options.