Many families are at a loss as to what to do when they unexpectedly lose a loved one, especially if that person was head of the household. One of your first steps should be to consider speaking to an experienced Chicago wrongful death lawyer about your legal options so you can ensure the financial security of your family as you adjust to your loss.
What is a wrongful death?
Any negligent or wrongful conduct that results in the death of another person is considered to be eligible for an Illinois wrongful death lawsuit. Most of these lawsuits are based on negligence for the safety of others by another person or entity. Medical malpractice resulting in death can also be considered grounds for an Illinois wrongful death lawsuit.
In order to have a valid wrongful death claim, you must be able to provide solid evidence that your loved one’s death occurred because of negligence on the part of another person, business, or entity. A Chicago wrongful death lawyer can help you collect and present the necessary evidence to help support your claim.
Who can file an Illinois wrongful death lawsuit?
The person designated to handle the legal affairs of the deceased’s estate – the executor of the estate – is the only person able to file an Illinois wrongful death lawsuit. This person is named in the will of the deceased and is usually their spouse or next of kin. In the event there is no will, a court order will be obtained to appoint someone else as the administrator of the estate.
While the executor of the estate will be the one to file the wrongful death claim and have the ability to accept a settlement offer, they do not have power over who benefits from the lawsuit or how the money is distributed.
Illinois Wrongful Death Claim & Common Law Marriages
Some states recognize common law marriages but Illinois is not one of them. Therefore, if you have been in a long-term relationship with the person who died as a result of a fatal accident and your loved one did not have a will, Illinois does not recognize you as a relative and you won’t be able to be designated as “next of kin.” In addition, if your partner left a will and you weren’t listed as a beneficiary, you won’t receive compensation from any part of the estate.
Illinois Wrongful Death Claim and Settlement
Tragedy can bring both the best and the worst out of people. When a large wrongful death settlement goes to next of kin, other family members may feel that the decision is unjust. However, this is dictated by Illinois law, not by individual family members.
If you feel that you were unjustly treated in a wrongful death settlement, consult with a qualified Chicago wrongful death lawyer. While you may not have any legal recourse, you should at least ensure that you were treated legally throughout the proceedings. If you were intentionally or unintentionally left out of the settlement, your lawyer can explain what options you do have.
Hiring a Chicago Wrongful Death Lawyer
Losing a loved one to a tragic and preventable accident carries with it an emotional toll that can quickly become overwhelming when funeral costs and medical bills come pouring in, especially if your family relied on the income of the deceased as your main source of financial support.
If you have lost a spouse, parent, or other family member because of neglect, you may be entitled to receive compensation from those responsible to help your family get back its feet after your loss.
With so much going on during this emotional time, it’s best to have the help of an experienced Chicago wrongful death lawyer. The Law Offices of Barry G. Doyle, P.C. have been helping the families of accident victims get the compensation they need and deserve to move on with their lives. Contact us today for a free case evaluation – (312) 263-1080