Personal injury and wrongful death claims have numerous similarities, but they are very different. However, they have one common factor; the same types of accidents caused by reckless or negligent parties.
Wrongful death or personal injury cases can arise as a result of:
- A medical malpractice
- Workplace accidents
- Defective products
- Slip, trip, and fall accidents
- Vehicles accidents
Differences in wrongful death and personal injury claims will help you know which one you need to pursue. If you sue a liable party under the appropriate claim, you have better chances of getting justice and compensation.
In Illinois, the statute of limitation for wrongful death or personal injury claims is two years. Meaning you have to file the case two years after its occurrence. However, if in the wrongful death claim the person died as a result of “violent intentional conduct,” the lawsuit should be filed within five years from the death’s date.
What Is A Personal Injury Lawsuit?
It is a lawsuit filed to hold a party or someone accountable due to an injury suffered. Legal action can also be filed to pursue financial compensation for the injury caused and cover the damages.
Damages in personal injury claims include:
- Lost earnings
- Pain and suffering
- Medical bills Property
- damage (where applicable)
- Reduced earning capability
- And other expenses related to the injury
- Punitive damages
To recover damages in a personal injury lawsuit, proving negligence is vital. Lack of proof for damages responsibility by a party or person you are suing will likely deny you from getting compensation.
What Is A Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
This lawsuit is filed on behalf of the survivors of a person who died due to negligence or wrongful action. Wrongful death lawsuit seeks compensation and damages by the surviving family members or the spouse on the deceased person’s behalf.
Wrongful death cases allow family members of the deceased person to seek justice and economic damages by suing a person responsible for causing the death of their loved one.
In Illinois State, a wrongful death lawsuit should be filed two years from the date it happened or a year after a criminal case against the person who caused death has been completed, if there was any. The criminal case may include first- or second-degree murder, reckless homicide or involuntary manslaughter, and drug-induced homicide. The death in this lawsuit may be that of a living person including an adult, a child, or an unborn baby.
Other special considerations and that may prompt alteration of the two-year rule include:
- If the person suing (the plaintiff) is a minor, they are given two years after their 18th birthday to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
- If a lawsuit is against a public entity. The government enjoys some form of extra protection in these kinds of wrongful death lawsuits. Your time to file this type of case might be less than a two-year period limit. You might be quickly given notice of your intent to file a lawsuit fast.
Who Can File A Wrongful Death Lawsuit In Illinois?
According to Illinois’ law, the next of kin of the deceased person has the first right ahead of any other family member to file a wrongful death lawsuit or claim. If the deceased does not have any immediate surviving next of kin, such as a spouse or children, relatives who are next in lines, such as parents or siblings, may be allowed to file a wrongful death suit.
When a plaintiff succeeds in a wrongful death case, they may receive compensation such as:
- Medical and funeral expenses
- Loss of parental guidance (if the deceased left behind minor children)
- Pain and suffering that the deceased experienced before death
- Loss of inheritance
- Punitive damages (if the defendant’s caused death intentionally)
- Grief, mental suffering, and sorrow of the next of kin and the surviving spouse
- Lost wages, or future earnings and benefits
What Evidence Is Necessary To Prove Wrongful Death In Illinois?
A wrongful death case is based on negligence, just like any other type of personal injury claim. Failure by the other party to uphold a norm expected in a society leading to cause death qualifies as negligence. For instance, a rack of wine bottles falls and crushes a shopper to death in a supermarket; this is negligence because the supermarket failed to provide a reasonably safe space for shopping.
To provide successful evidence of the defendant’s or the other party’s negligence, the plaintiff must prove the truthfulness of the following items:
- The death of the victim resulted from the defendant’s failure to maintain their duty
- The loss was suffered due to the death of the victim
- The defendant’s failure to uphold responsibility resulted in the death of the victim through means such as recklessness, carelessness, or intentional acts
- The defendant’s duty to exercise reasonable caution while interacting with the society
The flexibility of these four points will depend on the cause of the victim’s death. For instance, attorneys will cite different reasons other than negligence in a wrongful death case where a product’s random failure was the cause of the death of the victim.
Some of the main differences between wrongful death and personal injury actions:
- A personal injury lawsuit occurs after the defendant has committed a wrongful act and caused injury to a person. If the injured victim dies, then the personal injury ceases to exist.
- A wrongful death lawsuit exists if death occurred from the injuries caused, not when the victim is still alive.
- Wrongful death and personal injury lawsuits cannot exist during the same period.
- The statute regulates wrongful death, while a personal injury is mainly based on the common law.
- There has to be a death in wrongful death whose cause is not necessarily a result of negligence while personal injury requires a negligence action.
- A wrongful death favors the deceased person’s estate and the next of kin or qualified surviving family members, while personal injury favors the injured individual.
What Types Of Lawyers Can Handle Wrongful Death And Personal Injury Cases
Any lawyers can handle these types of lawsuits. However, you must find a lawyer with years of experience and expertise in wrongful death and personal injury cases. Also, consider choosing a law firm specializing in these cases to have a better chance of succeeding and receiving compensation.
Why Choose Our Law Firm And How We Can Help
At Michael J. Brennan Law Firm, we are expert attorneys in Illinois’ wrongful death and personal injury lawsuits. We can manage your case and take it off your hands. You can then focus on matters that require your attention. We work very hard to maintain a decent and respectful attorney-client relationship. If you choose us and become our client, these are things we can do for you:
- Negotiate settlement on your behalf
- Be your personal representative in all meetings and hearings
- Examine the evidence and work hard to collect more proof that will easily show negligence
- Communicate your case on your behalf to all parties involved, including the insurance company and legal representatives
- Calculate damages to determine the worthiness of your case and the amount to seek in a lawsuit
- File your wrongful death or personal injury action by Illinois’ statute of limitations deadline
- Provide you with legal advice on your rights and give you a timely update on your case development
Our attorneys, led by Michael J. Brennan have wide experience in wrongful death and personal injury cases. Without legal representation, you risk losing your case and damage compensation because of the complexity of these cases, especially in wrongful death lawsuits.
Contact us today and let us help you with your wrongful death or personal injury lawsuit in Illinois. We will help you hold your defendant accountable and enable you to get fair compensation.