If someone dies and the cause of their death can be linked to the negligence of another person, the family of the deceased may file a wrongful death action against the wrongdoer. These types of lawsuits are designed to help those who depended on the victim for support while he or she was alive. Therefore, the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit lies with the living family members of the deceased person. In Illinois, there is another way to make sure the victim’s rights to recover are not lost after death. This right was created by the Illinois’ Survival Act and preserves the victim’s rights by instilling these rights in their estate. Knowing the difference can have a significant effect on recovery after a loved one’s death, and ensuring that the responsible party is held accountable.
Illinois Survival Act Basics
The Act allows the deceased’s representative to bring an action against the alleged wrongdoer in order to recover damages in place of the victim. The law was created to ensure that the rights of the decedent were protected, as they are separate from the rights of his or her relatives in a wrongful death lawsuit. It also allows for the estate of the deceased to receive compensation that otherwise would have been owed to the victim by the negligent actor, but for his or her death. These damages include medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering attributable to the negligence.
Since the interested plaintiff in a survival action is the estate of the deceased (stepping in for the decedent), any damages that are recovered pursuant to the lawsuit are paid directly to the estate. The funds are then distributed according to the decedent’s will and/or probate rules. This differs from a wrongful death action in that any damages from this type of action are distributed directly to the deceased’s next of kin. While it may seem that there is little difference between the decedent’s will and the next of kin, it is possible for these to be completely different as the court will decide who is considered ‘next of kin’ under Illinois probate rules. After all, it is not too difficult to imagine that the person or persons who are listed in a decedent’s will may not be the exact same individuals who are considered next in line under Illinois’ probate rules. By bringing a separate survivor action, the representative in charge of the decedent’s estate can ensure that the individuals who receive money after his or her death are those that were intended.
If your loved one has passed due to another person’s negligent behavior, call the Law Offices of Robert T. Edens, P.C. today and speak to one of our knowledgeable Buffalo Grove attorneys. Pursuing a wrongful death action and/or a survivor action is something that you do not have to do alone. Let our experienced staff help you ensure that your family is taken care of following the loss of a loved one to someone’s negligent behavior.