The death of a loved one is always a sorrowful time. However, it can be especially traumatic when the situation could have been avoided, as is the case in Chicago drunk driving accidents. According to statistics compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, every year in Illinois over 300 drivers are killed in alcohol-impaired driving fatalities. While criminal charges are often pursued in these cases, this does not meaningfully help the victim’s family with expenses and the emotional distress they suffered as a result of their loss. However, when someone’s death is the result of a wrongful or negligent act, such as driving under the influence, Illinois law allows the victim’s family to pursue a claim for compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit. While filing a lawsuit after losing a loved one may be the last thing on a person’s mind, a wrongful death lawsuit can help the victim’s family to ease their financial burdens while they are psychologically recuperating.
Earlier this month, a 41-year-old man was killed in Naperville after a car crossed onto the road’s eastbound lanes and struck him. According to a local news report covering the accident, the responsible driver’s truck rolled over after slamming into the man’s car, eventually coming to a stop on its roof. Sadly, the man was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver was later charged with aggravated driving under the influence and reckless homicide.
Although the families of Illinois car accident victims cannot have their loved ones back, Illinois state law allows them to bring a claim for their damages resulting from the loss of their loved one. In a wrongful death lawsuit, the family of the victim can file civil charges against whoever is responsible for the accident. Notably, a wrongful death case is completely independent of any criminal charges that may be brought. Thus, even if criminal charges are not filed, or a defendant is acquitted, a wrongful death case can still be filed.
A wrongful death suit can only be brought if the deceased could have filed a lawsuit for the injuries he sustained, had he survived. If a plaintiff is successful, the jury will determine the amount of damages it deems fair, after taking into consideration the harms resulting from the death, such as medical expenses, future lost earnings, and mental suffering endured by the family. Whether through trial or settlement, the amount recovered goes directly to next of kin.
A wrongful death suit must commence within 2 years of the loved one’s passing. However, there are shorter one-year statute of limitations for certain defendants, like municipalities, so it is best to contact a lawyer immediately. Because the wrongful death lawsuit process can often be very procedural, with specific requirements that must be carefully followed, those who have lost a loved one from a tragic accident should consult with a dedicated personal injury attorney for assistance.
Contact an Illinois Wrongful Death Attorney
DUI accidents are more common than you may believe. For example, our injury lawyers just started working on a case where our client was injured when a drunk driver crossed the centerline, causing a head-on collision. Luckily, he survived the crash.
If you have recently lost a loved one in an Illinois car accident, let the personal injury attorneys at Abels & Annes, P.C. assist you, so you can focus on healing while we help you pursue financial compensation for your injuries. With decades of collective experience bringing personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits on behalf of accident victims and their families, you can rest assured that your case is in good hands. To learn more, call our office at 312-924-7575 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.