contact us today! (847) 357-0403

The thought of adding civil litigation to your plate in the immediate aftermath of a death in the family can be understandably unappealing. That said, the state law is strict about enforcing deadlines for filing civil litigation set by applicable statutes of limitations. Even wrongful death claims are not immune to these deceptively short filing periods.

Complying with the Illinois wrongful death statute of limitations is something a seasoned Elgin lawyer could provide invaluable assistance with.  You will have a lot to do in a limited amount of time in order to achieve a favorable case result. Your wrongful death attorney can also explain the exceptions that may apply to these deadlines under specific circumstances—something that is often relevant in claims stemming from violent and illegal acts.

What Is the Standard Filing Deadline for Wrongful Death Claims?

Most injury claims in Elgin —including wrongful death cases—are subject to a two-year statutory filing deadline, typically beginning from the date the prospective plaintiff first had a cause of action. For cases filed by the injured person, that start date is typically when they first got hurt. However, it can occasionally be when they first discover or reasonably should have discovered that their injuries stemmed directly from someone else’s misconduct.

For wrongful death claims, though, the two-year filing period begins on the deceased person’s actual date of death, regardless of when they first suffered the injury that ultimately led to them prematurely passing away. There is also a two-year filing period for survival actions—a similar type of claim to a wrongful death lawsuit often pursued at the same time and meant to recover for losses sustained by a victim between their injury and eventual death. This starts from when the deceased person first got hurt, not their date of death.

Special Time Limits for Deaths Caused by Violent Crime

The usual statute of limitations for wrongful death claims in Elgin does not apply to cases where someone passes away prematurely due to someone else’s violent intentional conduct. Instead, the personal representative of someone who dies as a result of this sort of misconduct has five years at most after the decedent’s date of death to formally file a wrongful death claim, in order to allow for the conclusion of related criminal proceedings prior to filing.

State law furthermore allows the statutory filing period to extend one year past the conclusion of criminal proceedings for wrongful deaths caused by any of the following specific crimes:

  • Involuntary manslaughter or reckless homicide
  • Involuntary manslaughter of an unborn child
  • Intentional homicide of an unborn child
  • Drug-induced homicide
  • Murder in the second degree
  • Murder in the first degree

These alternative deadlines apply regardless of what outcome the criminal proceedings in question have, even if they ultimately end with the defendant being acquitted or their charges being dismissed.

Learn More About Wrongful Death Statutes of Limitations from an Elgin Attorney

Failure to comply with the statutory filing deadline for a wrongful death claim will lead to that claim being thrown out of court the moment it goes before a judge. Building and filing a strong claim within the applicable time limit is crucial for any wrongful death case, no matter what circumstances led to that death or who is at fault for it.

Working with a knowledgeable personal injury attorney can go a long way toward helping you follow the Elgin wrongful death statute of limitations while still effectively enforcing your rights. Call today to start working on your potential claim.

Contact Us Today