When someone dies unexpectedly through injury or accident it is a very difficult time for the surviving family members. Often there is significant financial hardship not to mention loss of a loved one and all the emotional and psychological stress involved in the grieving process. A wrongful death attorney is a professional who can help you to navigate this very difficult legal issue and receive damages to provide some level of financial compensation.
Filing the Suit
It is important to realize that not all family members have the ability to file a wrongful death lawsuit in any state. In Illinois the only family members that can file the suit are the next of kin, including surviving spouses or children and then, if there are no children or spouse, living parents or siblings. In the event that there are no individuals in those categories for the deceased, other more distant relatives can be named as next of kin.
As soon as the suit has been filed with the courts, other relatives cannot also be included as next of kin. In some cases where there are several marriages and children a wrongful death attorney is essential in determining the legal right of one family member to file the suit as next of kin.
Naming the Parties
Wrongful death suits can be brought against a single person that caused the death, or it can be brought against multiple parties or a entities. An entity could be a manufacturer, seller or an employer; it really depends on the specifics of the case. A wrongful death attorney will be able to help you identify the parties to your lawsuit and ensure they are all named in the suit.
Timing of the Lawsuit
It is important to get a wrongful death attorney involved in the case as quickly as possible. There is a two year statute of limitations on most wrongful death cases unless a state or municipal government is involved, then it is only 1 year from the date of the death.
Often when a wrongful death attorney is involved early in the process information is easier to obtain to prove you case. This can be helpful in settling the case without the going through the court process, frequently an important consideration for the surviving family.