Chicago and Wrongful Death Lawsuits: A Useful Primer

When someone is killed as a result of the negligence of another person, it is called a wrongful death. Examples include fatalities brought on by medical mistakes, bad products, or auto accidents. Chicago (and the state of Illinois) has enacted laws that make it possible for the victim’s estate and survivors to receive compensation. Two laws help to govern the nature of wrongful death lawsuits in Chicago: the Illinois Wrongful Death Act, and the Illinois Survival Act.

Do Statutes of Limitations Exist for Chicago Wrongful Death Lawsuits?

In the vast majority of Chicago wrongful death lawsuits, the statute of limitations is two years from the date of the death of your loved one. There are, however, several exclusions to this rule. Firstly, minors have an additional two years to file after becoming an adult. Secondly, survivors of a deceased victim of medical malpractice have two years from the date they learned of the injury or should have reasonably realized it had occurred. Most of the time, these rules are governed by what’s known as the “discovery rule.”

4 Common Types of Wrongful Death Lawsuits in Chicago

Chicago is a busy, hectic city. For this reason, certain types of wrongful death lawsuits are much more common than others, and Chicago wrongful death lawyers can help you navigate this difficult legal process. Four types of wrongful death lawsuits are especially commonplace in the Windy City:

1. Auto Accidents

People frequently die in motorbike, truck, and car accidents caused by aggressive, distracted, or drunk drivers. Additionally, bicyclists and pedestrians may suffer fatal injuries due to the reckless driving of Chicago motorists. Because of how many people are driving in Chicago at any given time, and the number of poor drivers on the road, auto accident-related wrongful death lawsuits are by far the most common type of wrongful death lawsuit that lawyers deal with every year.

2. Medical Malpractice

In the event of a wrongful death, medical personnel may be held accountable for medical malpractice if they fail to provide reasonable care and attention to their patients. Misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis, surgical errors, emergency department errors, and prescription drug errors are among the most frequent types of malpractice that can result in a wrongful death lawsuit for this reason. According to the circumstances, the medical facility where the malpractice occurred can potentially be responsible as well.

3. Work-Related Accidents

Workers are sometimes tragically killed as a result of workplace negligence. When they were exposed to an unsafe working environment, died in an explosion, fire, machine-related accident, or as a result of inadequate training or defective equipment, a wrongful death lawsuit will likely be filed by the surviving loved ones of the victim. Certain dangerous professions, such as construction and roofing, have a much higher chance of employees being severely injured or even killed, while on the job.

4. Criminal Acts

A wrongful death claim could be taken into account when criminal conduct results in a person’s death. Rape, assault, shooting incidents, botched robberies, and many other types of criminal activity can fall under this umbrella. It’s important to remember, however, that the wrongful death lawsuit will be handled separately from the criminal charges being held against the aggressive party.

What Compensation is Available via a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

Whether a claim is made under the Illinois Survival Act or the Wrongful Death Act determines the damages that may be recovered after a loved one’s death. Asking your lawyer whether filing under this Act is proper for your case is essential for this reason.  In a lawsuit for survival, the estate may be compensated for damages the victim incurred between the time of the injury and the time of death, such as: lost income, anguish, medical costs, and other financial/mental losses. Additionally, survivors may pursue “just and reasonable recompense” in court for their personal financial damages in other areas. Once again, consulting with your lawyer about the specifics of your individual case can help you gain a thorough understanding of the types of compensation you’re potentially entitled to.

What Can a Wrongful Death Lawyer Do to Help My Claim?

If you’re looking for the best chance of winning your wrongful death lawsuit, you need a trusted wrongful death lawyer to help you navigate the complex and difficult legal path ahead of you. They can help you gather evidence, convincingly present your case to the court, and ensure that you receive fair compensation for your loved one’s sudden and tragic death. Everyone who finds themselves in this unfortunate scenario has the right to seek out a wrongful death lawyer for this reason.


Dee is a well-respected business journalist with a deep understanding of global financial markets and a talent for uncovering the stories behind the numbers. With over 20 years of experience covering the business beat, Dee is known for his in-depth reporting and analysis of industry trends, as well as his ability to make complex financial concepts understandable to a wide audience.