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Even under the most favorable circumstances, filing a lawsuit in the wake of an accident that left you seriously injured can be far from a simple process. In both legal and personal terms, few civil claims are more complex than those dealing with the sudden death of a loved one caused directly by someone else’s wrongful or negligent act. These claims are especially challenging if you have never dealt with personal injury litigation before.

An experienced lawyer can help with filing an Elgin wrongful death action. In addition, understanding the basic rules for filing a wrongful death case can be helpful to efficiently build your case and pursue the compensation your family needs. Our compassionate wrongful death attorneys can offer you and your loved ones more information.

Who Is Allowed to Sue Over a Wrongful Death?

In many states, the right to file suit over someone’s wrongful death is reserved for specific family members of that deceased person. Some of those family members may get priority over others when it comes to enforcing that right.

In Illinois, however, the right to formally begin this claim belongs solely to the deceased person’s “personal representative” or “executor.” This is usually someone specially named in the decedent’s estate planning documents to manage their affairs after their death. If no one was named in this way or no valid documents exist, the court can assign someone to fill this role.

The personal representative then can demand compensation on behalf of the decedent’s family members for losses they have suffered already and will likely experience in the future due to their loved one’s death. The decedent’s surviving spouse—if they have one—usually takes priority in being paid damages from a successful claim.

Following this, proceeds of the claim may be distributed to various “next of kin” of the decedent in accordance with how financially dependent they were on the deceased family member. Contact our team today to learn more about who has rights to filing an Elgin wrongful death action.

How Criminal Proceedings May Impact a Wrongful Death Claim

If a wrongful death occurs as a direct result of someone else’s criminal act rather than negligence, a civil claim may be filed and pursued at the same time as related criminal proceedings. Neither case’s outcome has any direct bearing on the other. Thanks to the less strict “standard of proof” that civil plaintiffs must meet compared to criminal prosecutors, it is possible to file a wrongful death claim in Elgin and achieve a favorable case result. This applies even if the defendant was not convicted of or charged with any criminal wrongdoing.

Additionally, if a wrongful death stems from “violent intentional conduct” or a specific type of violent crime, different statutory filing deadlines apply than the standard ones. A qualified attorney can go into further detail about exactly what restrictions may apply to a particular claim during a confidential consultation.

Ask an Elgin Attorney for Help with Filing a Wrongful Death Action

No one ever wants to be in a situation where pursuing a wrongful death lawsuit is their best means of making up for the unexpected loss of someone they love. If your family has suffered a tragedy like this, it is crucial to be proactive about enforcing your legal rights and protecting your best interests in the future.

Guidance is available from one of our compassionate personal injury attorneys throughout the process of filing an Elgin wrongful death action. Call the Law Offices of R.F. Wittmeyer, Ltd today to discuss your options.

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