A wrongful death law protects the rights of a deceased person whose causation of death was a wrongful act of another person or entity. Reason of death may include, but not limited to, automobile accident, slip and fall accident, or medical malpractice. This law is devised to protect family members of a deceased person, providing compensation for financial and emotional damages.
The filing of a wrongful death claim can be performed by a personal representative of the victim, which may include a close family member of the deceased, such as their parents, spouse or children, among others. In case there is no personal representative of victim’s estate plan, the court will take responsibility of pursuing wrongful death claim by hiring their personal representative.
Molly’s law in Illinois
Previously, the Illinois statute of limitation stated that wrongful death cases must be brought within 2 years of the incident. However, Illinois has introduced Molly’s law in their statute, which increased this limit up to 5 years. This law is named after a 21-year old woman named Molly who lost her life from a gunshot wound to the head in 2012.
The perpetrator was her former boyfriend, Riche Minton, a Carbondale Police Dispatcher. Molly’s father, Larry Young, filed a wrongful death claim against Richie Minton in June 2014, however, the case was dismissed by Jackson County Circuit Judge W. Charles because he filed a lawsuit after 2 years and 3 months. In light of this incident, Governor Bruce Rauner and State Representative Terri Bryant signed two bills, which are collectively known as Molly’s Law.
How to obtain compensation in Wrongful Death
In a wrongful death case in Illinois, damages are paid “for the exclusive benefit of the surviving spouse and next of kin of [the] deceased person”. Compensation may include reimbursements for sorrow, grief, and mental suffering. The amount may depend upon level of dependency of a family on a deceased person. Though certain damages, such as burial and funeral expenses, are directly paid to state if they contributed to these expenses.
However, there are four elements that must be proved in order to receive compensation for wrongful death: negligence, breach of duty, causation, and damages. Therefore, if you are seeking damages under wrongful death statute, it can be highly beneficial for your case to hire an experienced wrongful death lawyer. A competent attorney can help strengthen and establish liability by proving these four elements by collecting strong evidence and witnesses testimonies, allowing you to obtain maximum compensation for your loss and sufferings stemming from the death of your loved one.
If you wish to find out more about this topic or schedule a free consultation, contact the offices of Robert Edens at (847) 395-2200 to speak with an experienced wrongful death lawyer.