If an accident victim loses his or her life as a result of the injuries that he or she sustains, Illinois law allows the surviving family members to bring a wrongful death claim against the wrongdoer who caused their loved one’s death. Illinois law also allows the surviving family members to file a survival action to recover damages that the decedent would have been able to seek had he or she not died as a result of the accident. The dedicated and compassionate Illinois wrongful death lawyers at Therman Law Offices have assisted numerous grieving families with navigating these laws following the unexpected loss of a loved one, and we are ready to assist you.
In a recent lawsuit involving wrongful death and survival actions, the decedent lost his life as a result of a car crash in which a truck driven by the defendant crashed into the back of the SUV in which the decedent was driving. The decedent’s son filed a wrongful death and survival action against the defendant, who eventually admitted liability and agreed to proceed with a trial as to the amount of damages that he owed. Next, a probate estate was opened for the decedent, and another individual was appointed as the special administrator. She litigated the survival claim, while the son litigated the wrongful death claim.
After the trial, the jury returned a verdict in favor of the plaintiff for the wrongful death claim but returned a verdict in favor of the defendant for the survival action. The administrator for the estate died after this verdict, and the attorney filed a request for a new trial on the survival claim. The attorney failed to report her death, however, and the court denied the post-trial request. The attorney filed a notice of appeal in the administrator’s name but failed to report her death again. Next, the son moved to be named as the administrator of the estate, which the probate court authorized. The defendants moved to dismiss the appeal, which the court denied. The defendants appealed.
On review, the appellate court first stated that it agreed with the defendants that it lacked jurisdiction over the appeal of the lower court’s denial of the plaintiff’s motion seeking a new trial on the survival claim. The court rejected the plaintiff’s lawyer’s insistence that the notice of appeal was valid and timely, based on the fact that the estate administrator had been dead for four months. The attorney did not have the authority to act on behalf of the estate upon her death. It also noted that an estate does not act as an independent legal entity and that any legal action must be brought by the representative of the estate.
If you are coping with the sudden and unexpected loss of a loved one resulting from a fatal accident, we are standing by to help you fight for your right to justice. Losing a loved one is one of the most traumatic and painful experiences that you can endure. No amount of money will truly make you whole again, but it can help you offset the serious costs and financial burdens associated with it. Call our wrongful death lawyers today to schedule a free consultation at 773-545-8849, or contact us online.