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A wrongful death claim is a legal action that an individual may choose to take after the loss of a loved one. Medical malpractice, car accidents, construction site accidents, workplace accidents, and other incidents involving negligence or wrongdoing may lead to a wrongful death claim. If you have recently lost a spouse, parent, child, or another relative, you may be interested in exploring your legal options. Read on to learn about wrongful death laws in Illinois and what you should do if you believe your loved one’s death qualifies as a “wrongful death.”

Definition of a Wrongful Death
The death of someone you love is always heartbreaking, so you may be wondering, “When is someone’s death considered wrongful?” Illinois law states that a wrongful death is one that meets two criteria:



In 2017 alone, nearly 1,000 people lost their lives in fatal auto accidents in Illinois. Approximately one-third of these collisions involved a driver who was under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Throughout the United States, drunk driving is estimated to cause one death every 50 minutes. Losing a loved one because of the reckless actions of an intoxicated driver is a gut-wrenching experience to endure. If you have lost someone you love in a drunk driving (DUI) accident, a wrongful death claim may enable you to recover compensation while holding the responsible party accountable for your tragic loss.

Illinois Wrongful Death Claims
Although no amount of money could ever make up for the death of a spouse, parent, sibling, child, or another relative, a wrongful death claim can help mitigate the negative financial consequences of losing a loved one. Illinois law describes a “wrongful death” as one caused by a wrongful act, neglect, or default. Wrongful death claims are brought by a personal representative of the deceased person, often a spouse, adult child, or parent, and damages are paid for the benefit of the deceased person’s surviving spouse and next of kin.


If you have lost a loved one due to the careless or negligent actions of another person or entity, you may need to file a wrongful death claim in order to recover compensation for what happened. These cases can become incredibly complicated, and understanding how long it takes for a wrongful death claim in Illinois to settle revolves around various factors related to each particular case.

Understanding wrongful death claim timelines

It can be impossible to properly estimate how long a wrongful death claim will take to settle In Illinois. There are simply too many factors related to each particular case that can affect the length of the settlement process. How long a wrongful death claim takes revolves around whether or not the case is settled out of court or goes to trial.

Through a settlement

Most wrongful death claims are settled out of court. This can happen in one of two ways. First, a settlement may occur before a wrongful death lawsuit is even filed, typically through negotiations with the insurance carrier of the at-fault party. However, if the at-fault party refuses to offer a fair settlement, it may be necessary to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Even after a lawsuit is filed, most of these claims will be settled before they reach the courtroom. An Illinois wrongful death attorney will be in continuous negotiations with other parties involved while preparing a lawsuit.


If you have lost someone you love due to the carelessness or negligence of another person or entity, you may have had to file a wrongful death lawsuit in Illinois in order to recover compensation for your losses. These cases are often incredibly complicated, but the damages awarded for a successful claim will help grieving families gain some closure. Many families wonder how wrongful death settlements are paid out after a successful settlement or jury verdict.

Where does the money come from?

When a wrongful death case arises, people typically think that the case involves the deceased’s family members filing a lawsuit directly against the person they believe to be responsible for their loved one’s death. While this may be the case, these claims are often made against the insurance carrier of the at-fault party. In these cases, the insurance carrier is the one to provide legal representation in the case.

Payments for a successful wrongful death settlement or jury verdict will be made by the insurance carrier of the at-fault party or by the at-fault party directly.

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