Wrongful Death Attorney Fairview Heights, IL
Request a free consultation with an experienced wrongful death attorney from Jerome, Salmi & Kopis, LLC. Headquartered in Fairview Heights, IL, we serve all of southern Illinois and eastern Missouri.
There is nothing more difficult than losing a loved one to the wrongful or negligent act of another person. Tragically, these deaths occur all too often in Illinois and Missouri every year. When they do, loved ones can file a wrongful death claim to recover compensation.
Of course, a wrongful death claim can never bring back a loved one or erase the grief that surviving loved ones feel. However, the damages available by filing a wrongful death claim can help offset the financial burden of the death. An experienced wrongful death attorney from Jerome, Salmi & Kopis, LLC can help you file a claim and recover the full compensation you and your family deserve.
What is a Wrongful Death?
A wrongful death occurs any time a person acts negligently or carelessly and causes an accident that results in the death of another person. Car accidents, medical malpractice, and defective products are just a few ways in which wrongful deaths occur. When a wrongful death occurs, surviving loved ones can file a claim to recover their own losses such as funeral and burial costs, loss of companionship, and more.
Both Illinois and Missouri law also recognize survival actions. Through a survival action, surviving loved ones can file a claim to recover the losses that the deceased incurred during the time between the accident and their death.
For example, if a person was in a car accident and died as a result of their injuries one week later, family members could file a survival action for the medical expenses, lost income, and other losses sustained during that time. They could also file a wrongful death claim for their own losses. Wrongful death claims and survival actions are typically filed at the same time, even though they are separate legal actions.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?
At Jerome, Salmi & Kopis, LLC, we serve clients in both Illinois and Missouri. The laws regarding wrongful death have some differences between these states:
Illinois Wrongful Death
In Illinois, wrongful death claims are filed by the personal representative of the deceased. This may be a person named in the will or estate plan of the victim. When the deceased died without a will or estate plan, a person can petition the probate court and ask to be appointed as the personal representative. While the personal representative will file the claim, any damages recovered are distributed to the victim’s surviving spouse and next of kin, which includes any blood relative that would have a right to the property if the deceased had died without a will.
Missouri Wrongful Death
The law is slightly different in Missouri. In this state, the law allows the closest relatives of the victim to file a claim. The relatives that have the first right to file a claim include the victim’s surviving spouse and children. When the victim does not have a surviving spouse or children, surviving grandchildren are next in line. Then, the surviving parents can file a wrongful death claim. Typically, parents are the one to file a claim when the victim was a child.
When the victim does not have any surviving spouse, children, grandchildren, or parents, surviving siblings can file a claim. In the event there are no surviving loved ones, a personal representative may file a claim in Missouri. If the victim did not name a personal representative prior to their death, a person can petition the court to choose a plaintiff ad litem, and that person would have a right to any damages awarded.
Statute of Limitations on Wrongful Death Claims
Both Missouri and Illinois place a statute of limitations, or time limit, on wrongful death claims:
- In Illinois, the time limit is two years from the date of the victim’s death.
- Missouri law provides a bit more time for loved ones, giving them three years to file a wrongful death claim.
Both states allow some exceptions to this law, but they are rare and in most cases the law is very strict. In either case, it is crucial that eligible parties file a wrongful death claim before the statute of limitations expires. When they do not, loved ones will likely forfeit their right to any compensation.
Get Legal Help Today
If you have lost someone you love due to the carelessness of someone else, our wrongful death attorneys can help you navigate the process. At the law offices of Jerome, Salmi & Kopis, LLC, our skilled attorneys will identify the liable party and collect evidence to prove your claim so you recover the maximum damages you deserve. Headquartered in Fairview Heights, IL, we serve clients in both Illinois and Missouri. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.
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