Losing a loved one is a tragic event. It can be even more tragic when their passing is brought on by the carelessness or malice of another person. Rockford, Illinois law permits the surviving family members to file a wrongful death case to obtain compensation. Yet, navigating the court system can be challenging, particularly when you’re grieving. This complete guide will walk you through the procedure and provide insight into wrongful death claims in Rockford, Illinois.
- Understanding Wrongful Death Lawsuits
- Who Files a Wrongful Death Suit in Rockford?
- What Losses May Be Regained in a Case of Wrongful Death?
- Rockford’s Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death Claims
- Steps to Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Rockford
- Step 1: Hire an Experienced Wrongful Death Attorney
- Step 2: Gather Evidence
- Step 3: File the Lawsuit
- Step 4: Discovery Phase
- Step 5: Negotiations and Potential Trial
- How to Choose a Wrongful Death Attorney
- Reviews and Referrals
- Find Peace of Mind by Seeking Justice for Your Loss
Understanding Wrongful Death Lawsuits
A wrongful death claim falls under personal injury law. The case is a civil action brought by the surviving family members of a person who passed away due to another person or entity’s carelessness, recklessness, or malicious actions. A wrongful death case seeks to make up for the hardships endured by the remaining family members as a result of the death.
Who Files a Wrongful Death Suit in Rockford?
In Rockford, Illinois, the following individuals can file a wrongful death lawsuit:
- The surviving spouse of the deceased
- The surviving children of the deceased
- The surviving parents of the deceased
- The personal representative of the deceased’s estate
What Losses May Be Regained in a Case of Wrongful Death?
What damages are recoverable through a wrongful death lawsuit varies depending on the circumstances of the case. Generally, the following types of damages can be recovered:
- Medical expenses related to the deceased’s final illness or injury
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Loss of the deceased’s future income
- Loss of the deceased’s companionship and society
- Emotional distress and mental anguish suffered by the surviving family members
Rockford’s Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death Claims
The statute of limitations for submitting a wrongful death claim in Rockford, Illinois, is two years from the day of the decedent’s passing. The court will likely dismiss the case if the lawsuit is not submitted by the deadline, preventing the remaining family members from being reimbursed for their losses.
Steps to Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Rockford
Have you lost a loved one in a case you think qualifies as wrongful death? You should reach out to a personal injury lawyer quickly to meet the statute of limitations. Proceed by following the steps below.
Step 1: Hire an Experienced Wrongful Death Attorney
The first step in filing a wrongful death lawsuit is hiring an experienced attorney specializing in this area of law. A wrongful death lawyer can help you gather documentation and evidence, negotiate a settlement, build a strong case, and, if necessary, navigate the legal system. They will also handle communicating with the defending party.
Step 2: Gather Evidence
You will work with your attorney to collect evidence to support your case. This will likely include medical records, police reports, witness statements, and expert testimony.
Step 3: File the Lawsuit
Once your attorney has gathered the necessary evidence, they will file the wrongful death lawsuit on your behalf. The law firm will handle all the paperwork and deadlines, so you can focus on your family.
Step 4: Discovery Phase
Both sides will exchange information and evidence during the lawsuit’s discovery phase to build their cases. This may involve depositions, interrogatories, and requests for documents.
Step 5: Negotiations and Potential Trial
After the discovery phase, the case may proceed to negotiations between the two parties to reach a settlement. If a settlement cannot be reached, the case will go to trial, where a judge or jury will determine the outcome.
If the suit goes to court, your attorney will handle most of the work and walk you through every trial phase. You may have to relive some painful memories, but it’s part of bringing a wrongdoer to justice.
How to Choose a Wrongful Death Attorney
Rockford and nearby Chicago have a plethora of personal injury attorneys from whom to choose. So, how do you decide on the best lawyer to take your case? You’ll want to research local firms and attorneys and take advantage of free consultations to compare law firms. Some information that can help your decision includes:
Look for an attorney with experience handling wrongful death cases. Ask about their track record of success in similar suits.
Choose an attorney who specializes in wrongful death law. This ensures that they have a deep understanding of the nuances of this area of law and can provide the best representation possible.
Choose an attorney who communicates clearly and regularly with you. You should feel comfortable asking questions and receiving updates about your case.
Look for an attorney with the resources to thoroughly investigate your claim and build a strong case. This may include access to medical experts, accident reconstruction specialists, and other professionals.
Choose an attorney who is available to take on your case and provide the time and attention it deserves. Ensure their caseload is manageable.
Look for an attorney who works on a contingency fee basis— they only get paid if you win your case. This can help alleviate financial stress and motivate your attorney to win.
Reviews and Referrals
Most lawyers can offer testimonials from previous clients and a track record of successful cases. However, you can also go to independent reviewer sites like yelp and Google or attorney databases such as NOLO to research a firm independently.
Don’t feel pressured to retain the first lawyer you meet. Through due diligence and comparison, you can find the perfect law firm to represent your claim.
Find Peace of Mind by Seeking Justice for Your Loss
Losing a loved one is never easy, and pursuing legal action can be overwhelming. However, a wrongful death lawsuit can provide a sense of justice and closure for the surviving family members. The compensation you receive can also help mitigate costs and lost wages caused by the loss. Medical and funeral expenses can be burdensome, and settling your lawsuit can help alleviate the financial concern. By understanding the process of filing a wrongful death lawsuit in Rockford, Il, you can be prepared to help your family if the worst happens.