Your loved one died in an accident that was caused by someone else’s negligence. However, love is not enough to give you the legal right to bring a lawsuit for your loved one’s death. Instead, you need to have a specific legal relationship with the deceased in order to have standing, or the legal right to bring a wrongful death lawsuit.
You Have to Be the Personal Representative of Your Loved One’s Estate
In Illinois, it is the personal representative of the decedent’s estate who has the right to bring a wrongful death case. If your loved one died with a will, then the will likely named the individual who is the personal representative. If your loved one died without a will, then the court will name an individual as the personal representative of the estate. In many, though not all, cases the personal representative is a close family member such as a spouse or adult child. Deciding whether or not to pursue a wrongful death claim is just one of the responsibilities of being a personal representative of an estate.
Don’t Confuse Standing With Recovering Damages
While a personal representative of the estate has the authority to bring an Illinois wrongful death lawsuit, the personal representative may or may not recover damages if the lawsuit is successful. Any damages that are awarded in a wrongful death lawsuit belong to the estate and are distributed according to the rules of the estate.
If you have any question about whether you have standing to bring a wrongful death claim in Illinois or about how to do it, please start a live chat with us now.