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IL accident lawyerOver 900 individuals lost their lives in fatal car accidents in Illinois in the year 2019 alone. When a loved one dies in a tragic accident, the surviving family is often left with more questions than answers. Many families wonder if there is anything they can do to take legal action against the party who caused the fatal accident. Read on to learn about civil claims under the Illinois wrongful death statute and survivor statute.

Seeking Justice for a Loved One’s Death

Drunk driving, speeding, texting and driving, and countless other issues can lead to a fatal car crash. Sometimes, the at-fault party is not an individual but instead an auto parts manufacturing company or other entity. When someone is killed by another party’s negligent, reckless, or illegal actions, the surviving family may be able to seek justice through the civil court system through a survivor or wrongful death action.

Financial Compensation for Surviving Loved Ones

Losing a loved one in a preventable car crash, truck accident, motorcycle accident, or another type of accident causes not only terrible grief and suffering, but also significant financial strain. The surviving family may be left to deal with overwhelming medical debts and funeral costs. Individuals who lost a spouse are left to pay bills and raise children without their partner’s financial support or parental love and guidance. The types of damages available to surviving loved ones vary. Claims brought under the Illinois Survival Statute may allow the deceased person’s estate to recover compensation for:

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IL injury lawyerThe death of a family member can come as a huge shock – especially if the death was caused by a sudden accident. Car crashes, truck accidents, work accidents, and other unexpected accidents can turn your life upside down. While the death of a loved one is heartbreaking regardless of the circumstances, losing your loved one in a preventable accident is especially tragic.

Fortunately, Illinois civil law allows individuals to bring legal actions on their loved one's behalf. If your parent, child, spouse, or other family member died because of another party’s actions, you may be able to file a wrongful death action and seek justice.

What is Considered a Wrongful Death?

A wrongful death is a death caused by another party’s negligent or intentional actions. Negligence occurs when a party owes a duty of care, fails to fulfill that duty of care, and the failure causes injury or death.

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IL accident lawyerSemi-trucks and other commercial trucks are massive vehicles capable of causing horrific destruction in an accident. In 2019, over 5,000 large commercial trucks were involved in fatal collisions. Sadly, many truck accidents are preventable. If your loved one was killed in a truck accident due to the negligent actions of the truck driver or another party, you may have the right to pursue legal action against the at-fault party. A wrongful death claim may enable you to seek justice for your loved one’s death and recover financial compensation for damages.

Liability for the Crash May Be Complicated

If your loved one passed away in a crash involving a large truck, you may understandably be looking for someone to blame. The at-fault party for a large truck crash is sometimes the driver. Intoxicated driving, distracted driving, speeding, and sleep deprivation are just some of the potential causes of the crash. However, the trucking company may ultimately be liable even if the driver’s actions caused the accident. If the crash was caused by faulty tires, brakes, or another defective truck part, the company that designed, sold, or manufactured the defective components may be to blame. Determining liability for a truck crash is often one of the most complicated aspects of a truck accident case.

You Will Need a Solid Case Backed by Strong Evidence

To bring a successful truck accident injury or death claim, you must have evidence to support the claim. Trucking companies and insurance companies often try to shift the blame for an accident onto the victim. To build your case, you will need evidence such as event data recorder (EDR) information, photos and videos, witness statements, police reports, medical records, and more. Your lawyer can help you obtain and preserve evidence.

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IL injury lawyerIf you have unexpectedly lost a loved one, you are bound to be suffering from emotional turmoil and concern for the future. The death of a family member due to someone else’s negligence can feel especially unfair, and it can be difficult to deal with the legal ramifications along with your grief and personal loss. Fortunately, an attorney can help you manage the process of seeking compensation through a wrongful death claim. If you are unsure whether such a claim is possible in your situation, you may benefit from the answers to the following questions.

When Can a Wrongful Death Claim Be Filed?

In Illinois, a wrongful death claim is generally possible in similar situations to a personal injury claim—namely, when the person’s death was caused by the negligence or intentional malicious actions of another party. In most cases, a claim must be filed within two years of the victim’s death, though the statute of limitations is extended to five years if the death was the result of certain forms of murder, homicide, or manslaughter.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?

Illinois law requires a wrongful death claim to be brought by the personal representative of the deceased, which typically means the estate executor or administrator. If you are not your loved one’s personal representative, you should work with that person to initiate a claim on your loved one’s behalf.

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IL accident lawyerMotorists driving on public roads have a legal “duty of care” to the people around them. This means that drivers have a legal obligation to follow traffic laws and drive in a reasonably prudent manner. Driving with “willful or wanton” disregard for others’ safety is considered reckless driving. If your family member was killed in a reckless driving accident, it is important to know your rights. You may be able to hold the driver civilly accountable for your loved one’s death in addition to any criminal consequences the driver faces.

Criminal Penalties for Reckless Driving That Results in a Person’s Death

Reckless drivers do not usually intend for anyone to be injured or killed. Nevertheless, driving at excessive speeds or with gross negligence can lead to criminal charges. In Illinois, a motorist who causes an accident that results in death may be charged with reckless homicide. This Class 3 felony is punishable by a jail sentence of up to five years. Criminal charges brought by the state against the reckless driver may get justice for your loved one, but criminal charges do not address the damages suffered by the surviving loved ones. In addition to criminal charges, you may also be able to bring a civil claim against the reckless driver.

You May Bring a Wrongful Death Claim Against the Driver

Whether the reckless driver faces criminal consequences for your loved one’s death or not, you may be able to bring a wrongful death claim against the driver. A wrongful death claim is a civil claim that is brought by a personal representative of the deceased person instead of the state. A wrongful death claim may benefit you and your family by:

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