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When a loved one dies because of the negligence of others, you may be entitled to compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit. Although the deceased may leave several loved ones mourning, Illinois law provides that only one wrongful death lawsuit may be filed on behalf of the surviving family members. 

Illinois law limits who can file a wrongful death lawsuit to the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate. This representative is responsible for pursuing the wrongful death claim.  If the loved one passed away without appointing a personal representative in their estate plan, the court may appoint a personal representative. The personal representative may be a close relative such as the deceased’s spouse, the deceased’s natural or adoptive parents, or the deceased’s natural or adopted adult children.

Damages are distributed by the court to the surviving spouse and/or next of kin, according to each party’s level of dependency on the deceased person, as determined by the court’s assessment of the circumstances.

As hard as it is after a loved one’s death, it is important for the deceased’s family members to act in a timely manner.  In many situations, wrongful death lawsuits must be brought within one year after the death.