Settlement is the typical outcome for most personal injury claims but it is uncommon for a wrongful death case to settle out of court. Usually, there needs to be some judicial approval, even if it settles quickly and easily.
There are several courts with jurisdiction over these cases. A wrongful death attorney will be in the best position to advise someone on how to settle a wrongful death claim in Cook County as quickly and inexpensively as possible.
Generally speaking, the statute of limitations in Illinois is two years from the date of the wrongful conduct. It is not necessarily two years from the date of the death. Statute of limitations begins running at the moment of negligence and not at the moment the damages are incurred.
Whether in a medical malpractice case or a truck collision, the statute of limitations is typically two years. There are some exceptions, however, so it is always best to speak to an experienced lawyer to determine the applicable timeline. Failure to comply with the statute of limitations may result in no recovery.
A survival action encompasses the date of the negligent conduct up until the date of death. The date the damages arise does not influence the statute of limitations for survival actions.
If someone is killed in an accident, their heirs are entitled to a recovery for that loss. There are specific laws in place which direct what heirs are entitled to recovery. A spouse or child are the typical beneficiaries.
While not impossible, it is unlikely that a cousin, aunt, or uncle would be entitled to wrongful death damages. It is important to consult with a lawyer to determine what family members are entitled to recovery for the death of a loved one.
There may be a benefit to settling outside of litigation. Sometimes the negligent conduct resulting in death is clear, and there may be a limit as to the amount of insurance available to compensate the family for the loss. In these types of cases, wrongful action typically settles quickly. While it may seem like the case has settled out of court, there is typically some court involvement, particularly in the approval of the settlement.
It is important to keep the expenses down so the family can recover most of the money available. Even though a case is filed in court for approval, it can still be considered an out-of-court settlement.
There are two situations where it is common to litigate a wrongful death case. First, it can occur if there is a dispute about how the accident occurred or over the negligence of the defendant. When negligence is clear, there is no reason to battle that issue in court.
The second reason why wrongful death cases will go to court involves the amount of available insurance. No amount of money can replace the life of an individual. However, depending on the amount of insurance available, it will require the court to determine the amount awarded to the surviving family members.
If the decedent died due to the negligence of a company, corporation, or insurance company with large insurance limits, it is more likely that those cases will go through the court process. If the insurance policy limits are low or it is against an individual with little or no assets, those types of cases tend not to go through court.
It is understandable that you will not want to go through a drawn-out litigation battle after losing a loved one. However, court approval is necessary in many cases, even when you do settle. Please reach out to us and discuss settling a wrongful death case in Cook County.