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When can you file a wrongful death claim from a car accident?

| Jul 15, 2021 | Personal Injury

Losing a loved one in Illinois to a car accident is absolutely devastating. Depending on the circumstances, you may have cause for a wrongful death lawsuit. Negligence or recklessness on the part of the driver responsible for the accident or a manufacturing defect by the automaker are two reasons why you can have a legitimate cause for filing.

What are the most common causes of car accidents?

While you have a claim for wrongful death, it’s important to understand the most common causes of car accidents. The following situations can result in fatal crashes:

  • Car manufacturing defects
  • Distracted driving
  • Driver fatigue
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, including prescription drugs
  • Inexperienced or elderly drivers
  • Poor weather conditions
  • Reckless driving such as speeding, racing and ignoring traffic signs and signals
  • Street and highway defects

What are the elements of a wrongful death claim?

In order to have a valid claim for wrongful death after a car accident takes the life of your loved one, certain elements must be proven . They include the following:

  • Another driver caused the car accident that resulted in the death of your loved one
  • The at-fault driver behaved in a wrongful or negligent manner, directly leading to the accident
  • Your deceased loved one has a surviving spouse, child or other dependents or beneficiaries
  • You suffered financial damages as a result of the death of your loved one

Who can file a wrongful death claim?

Only an immediate surviving family member is able to file a wrongful death claim. In most cases, the person who can file is the decedent’s spouse, child or parent. However, the personal representative of the deceased’s estate can also legally file on behalf of the family members.