Law is constantly moving and shifting. Yes, there are plenty of principles the legal system has followed for generations and continues to adhere to, but it’s subject to change at any time. One such relatively recent change is the Illinois Wrongful Death Act.

Per the Illinois General Assembly, this act was adopted in 1995, thanks to the previous law in its place being rendered unconstitutional. While 27 years may seem like a long time, some laws have existed for centuries; A little under three decades is a mere drop in the bucket.

Our team of injury lawyers and wrongful death attorneys is happy to take the time to explain this act. Let’s tackle what the Illinois Wrongful Death Act means and how it could affect your Chicago-area wrongful death case.

What Is the Illinois Wrongful Death Act?

First, here’s the official law:

“Whenever the death of a person shall be caused by wrongful act, neglect or default, and the act, neglect or default is such as would, if death had not ensued, have entitled the party injured to maintain an action and recover damages in respect thereof, then and in every such case the person who or company or corporation which would have been liable if death had not ensued, shall be liable to an action for damages, notwithstanding the death of the person injured, and although the death shall have been caused under such circumstances as amount in law to felony. No action may be brought under this Act if the decedent had brought a cause of action with respect to the same underlying incident or occurrence which was settled or on which judgment was rendered.”

That’s quite a big and wordy paragraph, but here’s the primary gist: Though the circumstances may suggest criminal proceedings, if the deceased party would have otherwise been able to recover damages from the incident were they still alive, the case can be considered a wrongful death case.

Part Two

Secondly, the law also notes an important caveat: If the incident has already been settled, the act does not allow additional action to be taken.

It’s similar to the Constitution’s fifth amendment, which disallows a person to be tried twice for the same crime. The laws are not identical, however, as the former primarily deals in civil cases and the latter in criminal law.

How Does This Act Affect My Illinois Wrongful Death Case?

Primarily, it means that many cases that would otherwise be handled by a criminal lawyer can fall under the expertise of a wrongful death lawyer.

Crimes can indeed be the basis for a wrongful death case in Illinois, provided that the case has not been handled legally previously.

JD Haas: Injury Attorneys That Are Here for You

No matter if you’re in Chicago, suburban Illinois, our home state of Minnesota, or any other of the locales we serve, you can depend on us to provide you with compassionate legal help. Reach us today at 952-345-1025.