There is nothing more devastating than losing a loved one in a fatal auto accident. As compassionate and experienced Chicago car accident lawyers, we have seen numerous wrongful death actions arising from another individual’s carelessness. One of the most common ways that these accidents take place is motor vehicle collisions. A recent Illinois appellate opinion discusses liability in a fatal car crash, along with the importance of filing the action within the statute of limitations.
The plaintiff’s brother was killed while walking in a crosswalk when he was struck by a tow truck. The decedent’s brother contacted an attorney to bring a civil claim against the defendant. The attorney filed this lawsuit exactly two years and a day after the date of the accident. The case went through a number of other procedural issues, including a dismissal for lack of prosecution. The new attorney filed a petition for relief from the judgment based on a variety of grounds, including evidence that the prior attorney suffered a stroke while representing the plaintiff and was unable to practice law. The parties disputed whether the plaintiff actively prosecuted the claim, and the defendant argued that the claim was filed after the statute of limitations, rendering it time-barred.
The plaintiff countered the statute of limitations argument by saying that the plaintiff died the day after the accident as a result of his injuries and that the plaintiff was legally disabled from the moment of the accident until the moment he died, effectively tolling the statute of limitations. The plaintiff also wanted to add a claim for wrongful death, which had not been pled in the original complaint.