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How Long do I Have to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Illinois?

How Soon Must an Illinois Wrongful Death Lawsuit be Filed In Illinois, you must file a wrongful death lawsuit within two years from when the death occurred or you might not be able to receive compensation at all. There are certain exceptions but this general rule holds for most deaths arising from medical malpractice, personal injuries, or other kinds of misconduct.

  1. What Are Statutes Of Limitations?
  2. What Is Illinois' Time Limit For Wrongful Death Claims?
  3. What Happens If I Don't File Within Two Years?
  4. What Are The Next Steps If You File On Time?
  5. Will Your Case Settle Or Go To Trial?
  6. Speak With Our Attorneys; Understand Your Rights Regarding Illinois Wrongful Death Cases

What Are Statutes Of Limitations?

Statutes of limitations provide time periods by which you must bring your case within or risk losing the right to bring it at all. Why do states have these limitations? States employ statutes of limitations for a number of reasons but primarily because it's hard to try older cases. Also, they ensure that plaintiffs are motived to bring their cases quicker. Normally, jurisdictions have different limits for different kinds of cases. So it's important to research your specific time window both by state and case category to guarantee you bring it on time.

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What Is Illinois' Time Limit For Wrongful Death Claims?

There are time limitations on wrongful death claims. Each state may be different, however in Illinois, the statute of limitations to file a wrongful death claim is generally within two years of the death. There are exceptions for minors and criminal actions, however, it is always best to start legal proceedings as soon as possible to avoid inadvertently missing these deadlines. 740 ILCS 180/2.

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What Happens If I Don't File Within Two Years?

Statutes of limitations operate like gatekeepers. They let cases in and they keep cases out. If you don't file your case within the appropriate time period, then you will be barred from bringing it completely by these statutes. Barring extraordinary circumstances, judges will not let you continue to trial if you are tardy in filing your lawsuit. That is why it is so crucial for you to speak with counsel soon after the death of a loved one so that you can figure out if you even have a case and if so when the filing deadline is. Experienced counsel should be able to inform you of your deadline as well as give you a timeline by which you should complete other tasks in order to succeed at trial.

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What Are The Next Steps If You File On Time?

Illinois litigation does not follow a slow and windy course. Instead, it is fast and direct. In short order, you must intimately learn the circumstances of your case, present it at court, and combat the defendant's volleys. However, immediately after you file, the most pressing thing you must deal with is the defendant's answer. The defendant is required to respond to your complaint with an answer and if you look closely it will give you great insight into the other's side strategy. Therefore, you need to review it with great care. After this step, you must prepare and adequately handle the discovery process. This is a stage litigation where you exchange information and materials with the opposing party. If the complaint is where you outline the blueprint for your case, discovery is where you add a foundation to that endeavor. Finally, you need to put on your case at trial. Trial practice begs for an expert blend of persuasion and fact. It is where you put all of the pieces together. These are the major phases you will face after you file a case for wrongful death damages in Illinois. A lot of stuff happens within each of them and there are many different ways you can handle them but this should give you a good understanding of the challenges that this litigation demands.

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Will Your Wrongful Death Case Settle Or Go To Trial?

What's the difference? More clients ask us this than we count with regards to settlement. There are superficial differences between settling and going to trial and then there are more significant, subtle differences between the two legal courses. The superficial aspects include that settlement can reduce the amount of time that your lawsuit takes but trials can increase the amount of recovery that you see. The subtler dimensions relate to case strategy and your ability to make your case before you get to trial. Thus, whether you will or will not settle depends on your ability, preference, and the facts of your case.

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Speak With Our Attorneys; Understand Your Rights Regarding Illinois Wrongful Death Cases

Hopefully, now you have a better sense of what your rights are with respect to wrongful death cases and statutes of limitations. Of course, this does not exhaustively review every pertinent case or law but it does provide the general timeline by which you must operate. If you're wondering about how else your situation could be affected by Illinois law or when you need to file your cause of action by, give us a call. You can reach us anytime of the day at (888) 424-5757. We have worked with many families that have untimely and unjustly lost loved ones and know how urgently you need recovery and relief. Contact our offices to speak with our attorneys and hear how we can help you!

For information on specific types of wrongful death lawsuits, please see links below:

For additional information see the following pages:

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Jonathan Rosenfeld was professionally objective, timely, and knowledgeable. Also, his advice was extremely effective regarding my case. In addition, Jonathan was understanding and patient pertaining to any of my questions or concerns. I was very happy with the end result and I highly recommend Jonathan Rosenfeld. Michonne Proulx
Extremely impressed with this law firm. They took control of a bad motorcycle crash that left my uncle seriously injured. Without any guarantee of a financial recovery, they went out and hired accident investigators and engineers to help prove how the accident happened. I am grateful that they worked on a contingency fee basis as there was no way we could have paid for these services on our own. Ethan Armstrong
This lawyer really helped me get compensation for my motorcycle accident case. I know there is no way that I could have gotten anywhere near the amount that Mr. Rosenfeld was able to get to settle my case. Thank you. Daniel Kaim
Jonathan helped my family heal and get compensation after our child was suffered a life threatening injury at daycare. He was sympathetic and in constant contact with us letting us know all he knew every step of the way. We were so blessed to find Jonathan! Giulia
Jonathan did a great job helping my family navigate through a lengthy lawsuit involving my grandmother's death in a nursing home. Through every step of the case, Jonathan kept my family informed of the progression of the case. Although our case eventually settled at a mediation, I really was impressed at how well prepared Jonathan was to take the case to trial. Lisa