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Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Illinois?

 Posted on July 31, 2023 in Wrongful Death

Untitled-77.jpgA wrongful death claim in Illinois allows a surviving spouse, children, and family members to ask for financial relief from the at-fault party. These cases are pursued against liable parties whose intentional actions, negligence, or medical malpractice resulted in death. This article identifies the people related to the deceased who can file a lawsuit. We also share an overview of what you need to initiate the legal process.


Surviving Spouse 

A surviving spouse typically files wrongful death claims. In such cases, the court allows them to ask for compensatory damages for the medical expenses and other services needed to treat the fatal injuries of their deceased partner. 

A surviving spouse can also list emotional pain and mental suffering caused by listing grief of losing a loved one. Terms and conditions may apply depending on what the court determines as liability charges or the insurance coverage policy of the at-fault party. 



A deceased person’s biological and adopted child can request financial compensation from the at-fault party. As the next of kin, children have the right to ask for financial relief for the medical expenses, financial loss, and incurred physical, emotional, and mental damages after losing a parent. 


Other Next of Kin

Aside from a surviving spouse and children, other blood relations may file a wrongful death claim after the tragic incident. Applications are typically accepted when the person does not leave a legal partner or children behind. 

In these cases, the next of kin include close relatives like parents and siblings. Extended family members like grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins could file a lawsuit if the deceased did not leave any immediate family members.

Also, family members that paid for hospital services, medication, and surgical treatment after the incident can ask for compensation based on the amount they spent on medical expenses. 


Personal Representative of the Estate  

Apart from family members, a personal representative of the deceased person’s estate can file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the estate and the beneficiaries. The representative has this authority only when the deceased has no surviving relatives. Sometimes they may initiate the legal process if the surviving family members are unable/unwilling to do so.  


How to File a Wrongful Death Claim?

The person filing a wrongful death lawsuit needs to prove that their loved one’s death was directly related to the tragic incident. It can be an automobile collision, onsite accident, or another horrific incident that led to fatal injuries and eventual death. 

To seek compensation, the petitioner must prove: 

  • The at-fault party was negligent or intentionally committed a wrongful act to harm the deceased person. 

  • The at-fault party’s actions directly caused the tragic death. 

  • The family or estate incurred damages after losing the loved one. 

Petitioners need to share detailed evidence and tangible proof to support the claim. This may require extensive paperwork and an in-depth understanding of the legal system. Your lawyer can help you in this area if needed. 


Contact Lake County Wrongful Death Attorneys 

A wrongful death claim is a legal right of a surviving spouse and next of kin. Personal representatives can also step in and file a lawsuit in specific cases. No matter who files the lawsuit, the court reviews the application and analyzes the evidence carefully. A lawyer can help you collect evidence, submit paperwork for litigation or negotiate a settlement outside the court. Dial 847-662-3303 to contact Lake County wrongful death lawyers from Salvi & Maher, L.L.C. for further information. 



  1. https://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=2059&ChapterID=57

  2. https://www.forbes.com/advisor/legal/personal-injury/wrongful-death-lawsuit/

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